AIE Request 2023 (10)
I refer to the request which you made dated 7 July 2023 under the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007-2018.
Your request sought: 24-02-2023 Longford County Council 2022 NEP Progress Reports In response to your request, I wish to inform you that, in accordance with Article 7 of the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007-2018, I have today decided to refuse access to the records requested.
The 2022 NEP Progress Report is currently not publicly available at this time as it has been submitted to the EPA who are currently in the process of reviewing all 2022 Returns. During this review process, the EPA can ask for changes to be made to a submission if the process has not been completed to their satisfaction.
The report you request is in draft form and I am therefore refusing access to the record in accordance with Article 9(2)c 9. (2) A public authority may refuse to make environmental information available where the request— (c) concerns material in the course of completion, or unfinished documents or data,10. (6) Where a request is refused pursuant to article 9(2)(c) because it concerns material in the course of completion, the public authority shall inform the applicant of the name of the authority preparing the material and the estimated time needed for completion.
In accordance with Article 10(6) please note that we expect that the EPA will be publishing all NEP Reports for 2022 on their website towards the end of 2023.
Public Interest Test Furthermore, in accordance with Article 10(3) and 10(4) I have weighed the public interest served by disclosure against the interest served by refusal of the 2022 NEP Report. Factors in favour of release
- The public interest in individuals being able to exercise their rights under the AIE Regulations to the greatest extent possible in order to access environmental information; and
- The public interest in environmental information being made available and disseminated to the public in order to achieve the widest possible systematic availability and dissemination to the public of environmental information.
Factors in favour of refusing access
- The public interest in ensuring that information is not released under the AIE regime that would be misleading and provide an inaccurate picture on the environment and the environmental work of local authorities.
I have determined that the public interest would not be served by disclosing the 2022 NEP Report. Right of review Under Article 11 of the AIE Regulations you have a right to request an internal review of this decision. An internal review involves a complete reconsideration of the matter by a member of the staff of Longford County Council, unconnected with the original decision, of the same or higher rank than the original decision-maker, who may affirm, vary or annul the original decision.
If you wish to request an internal review, you can do so by writing to the Senior Executive Officer, Corporate Services, Longford County Council, Great Water St., Longford, referring to this decision, quoting the AIE reference number. This request must be made within one month of the date of receipt of this decision. The decision of an internal review will be communicated to you within one month of receipt of your request for an internal review. Please contact me at 043-3343477 or email@example.com if I can assist you in any matter relating to your request.
Yours sincerely, Ann Mulligan,AIE Officer.