The Minister for the Environment Climate and Communications has launched a public consultation as part of the process of updating regulations on Access to Information on the Environment (AIE Regulations).
The Aarhus Convention sets out rules to promote public participation in environmental matters. Over 60 pieces of legislation have been used to implement the Aarhus Convention in Ireland. One such piece of legislation is the AIE Regulations, which oblige public authorities to ensure citizens have access to information on the environment.
The AIE Regulations, amongst other things, provide a definition of environmental information and set out the way in which public authorities must deal with requests for environmental information from the public. They also provide for both an internal review and an appeal procedure in the event that a person is not satisfied with a decision about a request they have made.
This consultation provides the public with an opportunity to comment on the existing AIE Regulations and to input into new regulations which will be introduced to amend the current ones.
Speaking at the launch of the consultation, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD said:
“Access to Information on the Environment has been part of the EU legal order for 30 years and of Irish law since 1993. During that time it has been central to the process of improving environmental governance. It has been invaluable to citizens and civil society in, to use the wording of the Aarhus Convention, asserting their right to live in an environment adequate to their health and well-being, and observing their duty to protect and improve the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. As we prepare to update the Regulations to bring them into compliance with the Aarhus Convention, we also invite input on other changes to improve the effectiveness of the Regulations for all concerned.”
The consultation document is available on gov.ie. The closing date for submissions is 5pm, 16 April 2021.
Submissions can be made to:
Aarhus, Climate Adaptation and Citizen Engagement Division,
Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications,
A copy of the unofficial consolidation of the Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) Regulations 2007-2018 is available on gov.ie
For more information, please go to the Aarhus Convention page on gov.ie.
Notes to the editor
The AIE Regulations are part of the legislative package which implements the first pillar of the Aarhus Convention and the AIE Directive in Irish law.
These Regulations came into effect on 1 May 2007 (S.I. No. 133 of 2007), repealing the previous statutory instrument, the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 1998 (S.I. 125 of 1998). They have been amended three times: by the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 662 of 2011), the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 615 of 2014), and the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (S.I. 309 of 2018).