Appendix 3: Environmental Information Regulations – exceptions to the duty to disclose information

The following potential exemptions apply:

  • Regulation 12(4)(a) – the information is not held
  • Regulation 12(4)(b) – the request is manifestly unreasonable
  • Regulation 12(4)(c) – the request is formulated in too general a manner to enable it to be responded to
  • Regulation 12(4)(d) – the request is for information which is still in the course of completion, unfinished documents or incomplete data
  • Regulation 12(4)(e) – the request involves disclosure of internal communications
  • Regulation 12(5) – disclosure would adversely affect:-

(a) International relations, defence, national security or public safety

(b) The course of justice, the ability of a person to receive a fair trial or a public authority’s ability to conduct an enquiry of a criminal or disciplinary nature

(c) Intellectual property rights

(d) The confidentiality of proceedings where this is provided by law*

(e) The confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where this is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest*

(f) The interests of the person who provided the information where they provided it voluntarily, there are no other circumstances which would allow the authority to disclose it and the person has not consented to its disclosure*

(g) The protection of the environment*

*this cannot be applied where the information concerns emissions.

Where one or more of the above exceptions applies, we then have to consider whether the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Regulation 13 – personal information belonging to someone else will be exempt, where, for example, disclosure would breach any of the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998. This does not require the application of the public interest test