Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations

The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004 and the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 work together within BODC. In terms of compliance with this legislation, the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and its component organisations, of which BODC is one, are regarded as public authorities.

How BODC deals with requests

Any request for information held by BODC is technically a Freedom of Information request in the first instance. However, depending on the subject of the request it may be handled according to FOI, EIR or DPA legislation. Section 39 of the FOI Act exempts environmental information from being dealt with under FOI. It provides that requests for environmental information should be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations. Requests for personal information, where the applicant is the subject of the information, are dealt with under the Data Protection Act (DPA). More information about the DPA can be obtained via the Office of Public Sector Information web site.

To summarise

  • the EIR enables access to scientific/environmental information held at BODC.
  • the DPA enables access to personal information, when the applicant is the subject, held at BODC.
  • the FOI Act enables access to all other BODC information, such as on its structure and organisation.

The flowchart below describes the procedure.

Freedom of Information flowchart
Freedom of Information flowchart ©

Some of the information provided above is taken from the Information Commissioner's web site.