Renfrewshire Council

How to ask for environmental information

What is environmental information is, fees and charges, how long it will take, other types of environmental information.

What is environmental information is

You can ask the council to provide you with environmental information, like Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.

Environmental information is defined as:

"any information on the state of the elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms, and the interaction among these elements; factors likely to affect the environment; measures to protect it; reports on environmental legislation; and any other matter which directly affects the environment".

This is a very wide definition and much information held by the council will fall into this definition.

Fees and charges

There is a fee for providing environmental information.

The council will calculate the fee for an environmental information request on the same basis as Freedom of Information requests (FOI):

  • actual staff time capped at a maximum of £15 per hour
  • any costs associated with putting the information into a particular format, copying and postage costs.

The first £100 of costs are provided free of charge. We may charge the full amount for a request which is more than £600, or refuse it if the cost of compliance breaches this limit.

Copies are charged at a rate of 11p per copy. This cost is reviewed from time to time at the discretion of the council.

If we are charging you a fee, it must be paid in advance of providing the information. You will get written notice of this and you have working days to pay. The response timescale is suspended during this time.

The council must publish a schedule of charges and information on the circumstances in which a fee may be charged, waived or has to be paid in advance.

Councils cannot charge for allowing access to registers of environmental information, or for allowing an applicant to examine information at council offices (as opposed to being given a copy of it).

How long it will take

You are entitled to be given the information within 20 working days, or 40 working days if your enquiry is particularly complicated unless an exemption applies (similar to FOI exemptions).

If the council decides the volume and complexity of your enquiry means that the extended 40 working days response time applies, we'll write to you to let you know.

Other types of environmental information

There are some requests for environmental information which are not dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations and which have a cost.

These include:

  • enquiries dealt with under the Property Enquiry Certificate scheme
  • environmental information enquiries from commercial organisations relating to contaminated land reports centred on a specific area.

Requests are dealt with on a case by case basis, and if there is a cost, we'll let you know first so you can decide if you want to go ahead with the request or not.

Community resources fees and charges provides an indicative cost based on a simple enquiry. The fee for a more detailed enquiry may be higher depending on the complexity of the response required.