What are the EIR regulations?

The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 give the public the right of access to a wide range of environmental information held by the council, even where it is holding the information on someone else's behalf including:

  • The state of the elements of the environment; such as: air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms.
  • Factors affecting the environment; such as: substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment.
  • Measures (including administrative measures) and activities affecting or designed to protect the environment; such as: policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements.
  • Reports on the implementation of environmental legislation.
  • Cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of environmental measures and activities.
  • The state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures in as much as they are or may be affected by the state of the environment, or factors or measures affecting the environment.

Exceptions to disclosure

Although there is a presumption in favour of disclosure there are exceptions and we may not be able to disclose the requested information because:

  • It contains personal data.
  • The request is manifestly unreasonable.
  • The request is formulated in too general a manner and a more specific request has not been submitted although further advice has been received from an officer.
  • The material is still in the course of being completed.
  • Internal communications.
  • International relations, defence, national security or public safety.
  • The course of justice, the ability of a person to receive a fair trial or the ability of a public authority to conduct an inquiry of a criminal or disciplinary nature.
  • Intellectual property rights.
  • The confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is protected by law to protect legitimate economic interest.
  • The interests of the persons who provided the information could be adversely affected where that person was not legally obliged to provide the information or had not consented to its disclosure.
  • The disclosure of the information could adversely affect the protection of the environment to which the information relates.
  • In all circumstances the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

How to make a request and how long will it take

Requests for information can be made through our online service or by contacting the Freedom of Information Team. We have created a user guide to explain the process for making a request.

The online service allows you to use the Disclosure Log Search to see if the information you are looking for has already been provided in a previous disclosure. 

The regulations require the requested information to be made available within 20 workings days, however, this can be extended to 40 working days if the complexity and volume of the information requires it.

Charges for information

Where the information requested is available in a written or electronic form normally no charge will be made for supplying the information other than the cost of any copying and reproduction of materials. Under the Regulations we can charge a reasonable fee for complying with a request in some instances. There is no charge to access a public register or list of Environmental Information held by the Council or to examine the information at a place the council makes the information available for examination e.g. its offices, a library etc.

Charges for information falling outside the scope of the EIR

If the request for information requires us to carry out research/investigation and the preparation of new documents (either written or electronic) such a request will normally be considered to fall outside the scope of the EIR and will attract a charge.

2024/2025 charges:

  • £117.91 per hour for domestic enquiries
  • £228.80 per hour for commercial enquiries

Complaint procedure and appeals

Milton Keynes Council’s policy is to be as open as possible and whenever possible to supply information that is requested

  • If we are not able to provide the information requested we will write to you giving you our reasons.
  • If you are not satisfied with the reasons you have the right to appeal.
  • You may also appeal if you believe the charge we have made to supply the information is unfair or believe there has been an excessive delay, or the information has not been supplied as you requested.

Under the Environmental Information Regulations an applicant has 40 working days from the date of the response to make written representations to the authority. The authority must respond to the complaint within 40 working days.

If the outcome of the complaint procedure is not to your satisfaction you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner who is the independent official appointed by the Crown to oversee the Data Protection Act 2018, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

More information about the Information Commissioner and how to complain can be obtained on their website Information Commissioner's Office.

Freedom of Information Team

Freedom of Information Team contact information

Post only, Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ