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A Trust Port  Managed  by the Sandwich Port and Haven Commissioners under  ancient Acts of Parliament


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The Environmental Information Regulations 2004

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 provide public access to environmental information held by public authorities.

The Regulations do this in two ways:

    public authorities must make environmental information available proactively;    members of the public are entitled to request environmental information from public authorities.

The Regulations cover any recorded information held by public authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Environmental information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, police forces and universities. The Regulations also cover some other bodies that do public work that affects the environment. For simplicity, all organisations subject to the Regulations are referred to as ‘public authorities’ in this guide.

The Regulations apply only to the environmental information held by public authorities. The Freedom of Information Act gives people access to most other types of information held by public authorities.

The Regulations and the Freedom of Information Act do not give people access to their own personal data (information about themselves), such as their health records or credit reference files. Individuals have a right of access to information held about them under the Data Protection Act 1998.

What are the Environmental Information Regulations for?

The Regulations are derived from European law. They implement the European Council Directive 2003/4/CE on public access to environmental information (the EC Directive) in the UK. The principle behind the law is that giving the public access to environmental information will encourage greater awareness of issues that affect the environment. Greater awareness helps increase public participation in decision-making; it makes public bodies more accountable and transparent and it builds public confidence and trust in them.

The source of the EC Directive is an international agreement called the ‘Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters’. It was adopted in Aarhus, Denmark on 25 June 1998 and is known as ‘the Aarhus Convention’. Part of the Aarhus Convention says what its signatories must do to provide access to environmental information. The European Union and the United Kingdom have signed the Convention.

Article 1 of the Aarhus Convention states:

    “In order to contribute to the protection of the right of every person of present and future generations to live in an environment adequate to his or her health and well-being, each party shall guarantee the rights of access to information, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice on environmental matters in accordance with the provisions of this Convention.”

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Freedom of Information

Like all Harbour Authorities the Sandwich Port and Haven is exempt from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.