The Environmental Information Regulations 2004, (the Regulations) allows individuals the right to request environmental information from public authorities about the elements and factors which affect how people live and work, for example information held on air, water, soil and the factors which could affect these such as energy, noise or waste. The Regulations also give access to the measures a public authority has taken, such as polices, legislation or environmental agreements.
Definition of Environmental Information
Any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on;
(a) 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;
(b) factors such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment, affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment referred to above;
(c) measures (including administration measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in (a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements;
(d) reports of the implementation of environmental legislation;
(e) cost-benefit and other economic analysis and assumption used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in (c); and
(f) the state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures in as much as they are or may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to in (a) or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to in (b) and (c).
Further information can be found in the guidance produced by DEFRA.
To assist the public in accessing such information and in compliance with the Regulations, and the Freedom of Information Act the Health Board has produced a Publication Scheme. This is a complete guide to information; including environmental information, which the Health Board routinely publishes, in compliance with the Model Publication Scheme produced by the Information Commissioner. The Guide to Information follows the format of the seven broad classes of information referred to in the Model Publication Scheme and in the Definition Document for Health Bodies in Wales.
General Right of Access
The Health Board also provides the public with a right of access to environmental information which is not covered in the Publication Scheme. Briefly outlined below are details of how members of the public can make requests for environmental information to the Health Board and the type of information available to them.
The Health Board will generally provide the requester with all the Environmental Information applied for, although there are certain restrictions on the right of access to particular categories of information. The Health Board does not take into account who is asking for it or why they want it.
Requests for information can be made verbally or in writing. Our Contact Us page provides correspondence details and our online request service.
When making a request for information, be as clear as possible by pinpointing the specific information required to assist the Health Board in responding to the request. Confirm what format would be preferential to receive the information in, for example, verbally, electronically or as a hard copy.
The Health Board will reply to requests as soon as possible, within 20 working days. It may:
- provide the information asked for;
- notify the requester if the information is not held;
- notify the requester if another public body holds the information;
- issue a ‘Fees Notice’ informing the requester that Charges apply to that particular information request;
- refuse to provide the information, and explain the reasons why;
- notify the requester that the Health Board requires more time and confirm when a response should be expected.
The Information Commissioner's Office has issued a Charter for Responsible Freedom of Information Requests. This charter may assist you in making information requests to the Health Board; it also cover requests made under to Environmental Information Regulations.
If you are not happy with the way your request has been handled by the Health Board, you are entitled to make a complaint by Contacting Us.
All complaints will be dealt with in accordance with the Health Board’s ‘Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Regulations Complaints Policy’. Should you not be satisfied with the Health Board’s response to your complaint, you then have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Please note: the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was formed on 1st October 2009 combining North Wales NHS Trust (formally Conwy & Denbighshire NHS Trust and North East Wales NHS Trust), North West Wales NHS Trust and the six North Wales Local Health Boards.