Decision of the Commissioner for Environmental Information (AIE Regulations): Integrated Forestry Information System (iFORIS)

Case: OCE-108532-W5W7Z8

Date of decision: 3 October 2022
Appellant: Mr. A.

Public Authority: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine [the Department]

Issue: Whether Department were justified in refusing the request under articles 8(a)(i) or 8(a)(iii) of the AIE Regulations, whether the request was manifestly unreasonable within the meaning of article 9(2)(a) of the AIE Regulations.

Summary of the Commissioner’s Decision: The Commissioner annulled the decision of the Department and directed that a fresh decision-making process be carried out in respect of the appellant’s request.

This appeal concerns the Integrated Forestry Information System (iFORIS), which is a system maintained by the Department to support the processing of forestry license and scheme applications and payments.

On 1 April 2021, the appellant requested “a copy of, or access to, all spatial datasets available on iFORIS used by DAFM in connection with assessing Forestry Application and Licenses.” The appellant stated in his request that he was seeking access to spatial data only, and not to any personal data where consent for disclosure has not been given by the individuals concerned.

The Department issued a decision on 29 April 2021. It refused the appellant’s request under articles 8(a)(i), 8(a)(iii) and 9(2)(a) of the AIE Regulations. The Department stated that the data in question would amount to terabytes in size, and it was not feasible for the Department to supply this amount of data. The decision found that the datasets sought contained confidential personal information and information that would indicate the location of protected species. The decision also stated that many of the datasets sought are publicly available elsewhere and should be sought from the “authoritative sources”.

The decision considered the weighing of the public interest served by disclosure against the interest served by refusal and concluded that the public interest was best served by withholding the information sought.

The Department says that it holds over 100 layers of data relevant to the appellant’s request which amounts to terabytes in size and as a result, the request is manifestly unreasonable. This Office’s investigator wrote to the Department seeking further information on the steps that would be involved in processing the appellant’s request such as an estimate of time length of time it would take to fulfil the request and the impact this would have on the functioning of the Department. The Department responded stating that it would take “potentially weeks of work” to prepare the material for release, but did not provide any further information to support this statement. The Department stated that it is simply not feasible for it to supply this amount of data, but have not set out why that might be the case.

Filters in EPA GIS maps


EPA Offices




Coal Restricted Areas

AIR EMEP Monitoring Sites

Air Monitoring Sites

AIR NO2 – Modelled NO2 Dublin

AIR PM10 – Modelled PM10 Dublin

AIR PM2.5 – Modelled PM2.5 Dublin

Air Zones

National Ambient Air Quality Sites

Air Quality Index Regions

Sites and Monuments

Counties Generalised

Local Authorities Generalised

Local Authorities

Settlements Generalised

PRTR: All PRTR Sectors

Bathing Water Quality

Significant Pressures – Certs of Authorisations

Coastal – High Probability

Coastal – Low Probability

Coastal – Medium Probability

Coastal Waterbody WFD Latest Status

Canals Ecological Potential 2010-2015

Canals Ecological Potential 2013-2018

Canal Waterbodies Risk – Cycle 2

Canal Waterbodies Risk

Chemical Monitoring Points

Dump Site Boundaries

Townlands in DWWTS High Status Area grant scheme

EPA Drinking Water Remedial Action List

GSI Bedrock Aquifer

GSI Gravel Aquifer

GSI Bedrock Geology 1 Million

GSI Rock Unit Groups

GSI Vulnerability

GSI Bedrock Faults 100k

GSI Bedrock Polygons 100k

GSI Public Supply Source Protection Areas

Ground Waterbody WFD Latest Status


HYDRO Catchments

River Flow Estimates – Hydrotool

Coastal Waterbody High Status Objective

Lake Waterbody High Status Objective

River Waterbody High Status Objective

Transitional Waterbody High Status Objective

Significant Pressures – IEL Facilities

INSPIRE Register of Protected Areas – Salmonid Water Regs River Waterbodies (WFD RBMP Cycle 2)

Significant Pressures – IPC Facilities

Licensed Peat Extraction Installation Boundary

IPPC Boundary

IPPC Emission Points

IPPC Facility Details

IPPC Monitoring Points

Corine 2000

Corine 2006

Corine 2012

Corine 2018

Corine 1990

Corine Change 2006 – 2012

Corine Change 2012 – 2018

Corine Change 2000 – 2006

Corine Change 1990 – 2000

UWW Snapped Emission Points

UWW Emission Points

Bathing Water Areas

Certs of Authorisation Locations (<500pe)



IPPC, IPC and IEL Facilities

UWW Plant Locations (>500pe)

UWWT Plant Compliance

Waste Facilities

Extractive Industries Registered Sites

Lake Waterbody WFD Latest Status

Seascape Character Areas

Seascape Character Type

Seascapes – Land with Sea Views

Seascapes – Sea Surface Visible from Land

MCP Facility Locations

Mine Geological Linear Features

Mine Other Waste Areas

Point Mine Features

Mine Site Boundaries

Mine District

Mine Site Features

Mines Solid Waste Analyses

Mines Solid Waste Heaps

Mines Stream Sediment Analyses

Linear Mine Features

Mines Water Analyses (Summer)

Mine Linear Waste Features

Mine Point Waste Features

Mine Water Linear

Mine Point Water Features

Mine Water Analyses (Winter)

Historical S.E. Chemical Data

Historical Groundwater Quality 2003-2005

Hydrometric Gauges

Latest River Q Values

National Water Monitoring Stations

River Q Values 1971-2020

River Q-Values 2004-2020

Zone of Subsidence

Mine Site Location

NFGWS Group Scheme Source Protection Areas

Noise Round 2 Airport – Day

Noise Round 2 Airport – Night

Noise Round 2 Rail – Day

Noise Round 2 Rail – Night

Noise Round 2 Road – Day

Noise Round 2 Road – Night

Noise Round 1 – Airport

Noise Round 1 – Dublin Agglomeration

Noise Round 1 – NRA

Noise Round 1 – Rail

Noise Round 3 Airport – Lden

Noise Round 3 Airport – Lnight

Noise Round 3 Rail – Lden

Noise Round 3 Rail – Lnight

Noise Round 3 Road – Lden

Noise Round 3 Road – Lnight


PIP-P Flow Delivery Paths

Pollution Impact Potential – Nitrate (PIP-N)

Pollution Impact Potential – Phosphorus (PIP-P)

PIP-P Flow Delivery Points

Large Towns

Medium Towns

Small Towns

Natural Heritage Areas

S.A.C – Latest Cycle

S.P.A – Latest Cycle

N.I. Marine Conservation Zones

N. I. S.A.C.

N.I. S.P.A.



SAC with Water Dependent Habitats/Species – Dec 2018

SAC – Sep 2016


SPA with Water Dependent Habitats/Species – Dec 2018

SPA – Sep 2016

PRTR: Animal and vegetable products from the food and beverage sector

PRTR: Chemical industry

PRTR: Energy sector

PRTR: Intensive livestock production and aquaculture

PRTR: Mineral industry

PRTR: Other activities

PRTR: Paper and wood production and processing

PRTR: Production and processing of metals

PRTR: Waste and waste water management

Radiation Monitoring

Radon Map pre May 2022

INSPIRE Water Framework Directive Groundwater Waterbody

INSPIRE Water Framework Directive River Basin Districts

INSPIRE Water Framework Directive River Waterbodies

INSPIRE Water Framework Directive Coastal Waterbody

INSPIRE Water Framework Directive Lake Waterbody

INSPIRE Water Framework Directive Transitional Waterbody

River – High Probability

River – Low Probability

River – Medium Probability

River Waterbody WFD Latest Status

All EPA Priority Urban Areas

Impacting on Bathing Water

Sewage Treatment <500pe

Failing to meet EU Sewage Treatment Standards

Key Pressure on Rivers or Lakes

Improvement needed to protect Pearl Mussels

Improvement needed to protect Shellfish Waters

Raw Sewage

Discharge Locations

Sewage Treatment >500pe

National Soils Hydrology Map

National Soils

SIS National Soils



Transitional Waterbody WFD Latest Status

UWWT Agglomeration Boundaries

Waste Boundary

River Catchments (1958)

Hydrometric Area

River Basins (1958)

Flow Network (Indicative)

River Flow Direction


INSPIRE Water Framework Directive River Network Routes

WFD Areas For Action Plans

WFD Areas for Action – Cycle 2

WFD Areas For Action

Catchment Projects

Near Surface Nitrate Susceptibility

Near Surface Phosphate Susceptibility

Sub Surface Nitrate Susceptibility

Coastal Waterbodies – Cycle 2

Coastal Waterbodies

Coastal Waterbody WFD Status 2007-2009

Coastal Waterbody WFD Status 2010-2012

Coastal Waterbody WFD Status 2010-2015

Coastal Waterbody WFD Status 2013-2018

Coastal Waterbodies Risk – Cycle 2

Coastal Waterbodies Risk

Canal Waterbodies – Cycle 2

Canal Waterbodies

Waterways Ireland Canals

WFD Catchments

Coastal Water Quality 2018-2020

Coastal Waterbody Score 2008

Salmonid River Regs (S.I. 293 only) – Latest Cycle

Ground waterbodies – Cycle 2

Ground Waterbodies

GW Ammonium Concentrate 2014

Ground Waterbody WFD Status 2007-2012

Ground Waterbody WFD Status 2010-2015

Ground Waterbody WFD Status 2013-2018

Ground Waterbodies Risk – Cycle 2

Ground Waterbodies Risk

Groundwater Abstractions Pressures

Groundwater Agriculture Pressures

Groundwater Anthropogenic Pressures

Groundwater Aquaculture Pressures

Groundwater Atmospheric Pressures

Groundwater Domestic Waste Water Pressures

Groundwater Extractive Industry Pressures

Groundwater Forestry Pressures

Groundwater Historically Polluted Site Pressures

Groundwater Hydromorphology Pressures

Groundwater Industry Pressures

Groundwater Invasive Specie Pressures

Groundwater Other Anthropogenic Pressures

Groundwater Urban Run Off Pressures

Groundwater Urban Waste Water Pressures

Groundwater Waste Pressures

Groundwater Water Treatment Pressures

GW Max Faecal Coliform 2014

GW Nitrate Concentration 2014

GW Phosphate Concentration 2014

GW Ammonium Concentration 2007 – 2009

WFD GW Quality Max Faecal Coliform 2007-2009

GW Nitrate Concentration 2007 – 2009

GW Phosphate Concentration 2007 – 2009

Groundwater Waterbody Score 2008


Lake Water Quality 2007-2009

Lake Waterbodies

Lake and TRaC Abstractions Pressures

Lake and TRaC Agriculture Pressures

Lake and TRaC Anthropogenic Pressures

Lake and TRaC Aquaculture Pressures

Lake and TRaC Atmospheric Pressures

Lake and TRaC Domestic Waste Water Pressures

Lake and TRaC Extractive Industry Pressures

Lake and TRaC Forestry Pressures

Lake and TRaC Historically Polluted Site Pressures

Lake and TRaC Hydromorphology Pressures

Lake and TRaC Industry Pressures

Lake and TRaC Invasive Species Pressures

Lake and TRaC Other Anthropogenic Pressures

Lake and TRaC Urban Run-off Pressures

Lake and TRaC Urban Waste Water Pressures

Lake and TRaC Waste Pressures

Lake and TRaC Water Treatment Pressures

WFD Lake Waterbody Status 2007-2009

Lake Waterbody WFD Status 2010-2012

Lake Waterbody WFD Status 2010-2015

Lake Waterbody WFD Status 2013-2018

Lake Waterbodies Risk – Cycle 2

Lake Waterbodies Risk

Lake Waterbodies – Cycle 2

Lake Waterbody Score 2008

River Basin District

River Waterbodies

Margaritifera Habitat Classification

Margaritifera SAC Catchment

Margaritifera Sensitive Areas

Bathing Water Catchment

Groundwater in Bathing Locations

Surface Waters in Bathing Locations

Bathing Water Areas – Dec 2018

Bathing Water Areas – Sep 2016

INSPIRE Water Framework Directive RPA Bathing Water Areas

Drinking Water – Groundwater

Drinking Water – Groundwater – Dec 2018

Drinking Water – Groundwater – Sep 2016

Drinking Water – Rivers

Drinking Water – Rivers – Dec 2018

Drinking Water – Rivers – Sep 2016

Drinking Water – Lakes

Drinking Water – Lakes – Dec 2018

Drinking Water – Lakes – Sep 2016

INSPIRE Water Framework Directive RPA Drinking Water GWB

INSPIRE Water Framework Directive RPA Drinking Water SWB

Bathing Water Areas – Latest Cycle

Drinking Water – Groundwater – Latest Cycle

Drinking Water – Rivers – Latest Cycle

Drinking Water – Lakes – Latest Cycle

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Lakes and Estuaries – Latest Cycle

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Rivers – Latest Cycle

Shellfish Areas – Latest Cycle

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Catchments of Interest

Groundwater in Nutrient Sensitive Areas

Rivers in Nutrient Sensitive Areas

Surface Water in Nutrient Sensitive Areas

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Lakes and Estuaries

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Lakes and Estuaries – Dec 2018

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Lakes and Estuaries – Sep 2016

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Rivers

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Rivers – Dec 2018

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Rivers – Sep 2016

Nutrient Sensitive Areas – Points

Groundwater in SAC Habitats

Rivers in SAC Habitats

Surface Waters in SAC Habitats

Groundwater in SAC Species

Rivers in SAC Species

Surface Waters in SAC Species

Groundwater in Salmonid Regs

Rivers in Salmonid Regs

Surface Waters in Salmonid Regs

Shellfish Areas

Groundwater in Shellfish Areas

Rivers in Shellfish Areas

Surface Waters in Shellfish Areas

Shellfish Areas – Dec 2018

Shellfish Areas – Sep 2016

Groundwater in SPA Habitats

Rivers in SPA Habitats

Surface Waters in SPA Habitats

River Waterbody WFD Status 2007-2009

River Water Quality Status: 2010-2012

River Waterbody WFD Status 2010-2015

River Waterbody WFD Status 2013-2018

River Waterbodies Risk – Cycle 2

River Waterbodies Risk

River Abstraction Pressures

River Agriculture Pressures

River Anthropogenic Pressures

River Aquaculture Pressures

River Atmospheric Pressures

River Domestic Waste Water Pressures

River Extractive Industry Pressures

River Forestry Pressures

River Historically Polluted Site Pressures

River Hydromorphology Pressures

River Industry Pressures

River Invasive Species Pressures

River Other Anthropogenic Pressures

River Urban Run Off Pressures

River Urban Waste Water Pressures

River Waste Pressures

River Water Treatment Pressures

WFD River Sub Basins

Radon Map for Workplaces

Radon Risk Map of Ireland

River Waterbodies – Cycle 2

River Waterbodies

River Waterbody Score 2008

Salmonid River Regs (S.I. 293 only)

Salmonid River Regs (S.I. 293 only) – Dec 2018

Salmonid River Regs (S.I. 293 only) – Sep 2016

Section 4 Discharges

WFD SubCatchments

Transitional Waterbodies

Transitional Waterbody WFD Status 2007-2009

Transitional Waterbody WFD Status 2010-2012

Transitional Waterbody WFD Status 2010-2015

Transitional Waterbody WFD Status 2013-2018

Transitional Waterbodies Risk – Cycle 2

Transitional Waterbodies Risk

Transitional Water Quality 2018-2020

Transitional Waterbodies – Cycle 2

Transitional Water Score 2008

Water Management Units

Waste Emission Points

Waste Monitoring Points

Significant Pressures – Urban Waste Water Plant Locations

Significant Pressures – Waste Facilities


Tender: Technical/scientific support to NPWS in the development of GIS based data collation, analysis & management tools for relevant peatland data (Bord na Mona, EDRRS Programme)

Bord na Móna Peatlands Enhanced Decommissioning, Rehabilitation and Restoration Scheme (EDRRS) and the role of NPWS as scheme regulator

The Peatlands EDRRS was approved in 2020.  The Scheme is administered by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), regulated by the NPWS of the DHLGH and operated by Bord na Móna.  It involves many other diverse stakeholders including the EPA, relevant NGOs, local authorities, representative organisations and importantly, the local communities.

The objectives of the scheme are as follows:

  1. To rehabilitate the Peatlands so that the improvements optimise climate, environmental, ecological and hydrological impacts; and 
  2. To rehabilitate the Peatlands in accordance with peatland rehabilitation best practice as agreed between the main stakeholders.

Bord na Móna is to implement an enhanced rehabilitation scheme on over 33,000 hectares of Bord na Móna lands previously harvested for peat that was used for fuel for the purposes of electricity generation.

The NPWS regulatory role consists of, inter alia, the following functions:

  1. Conducting an annual ex-ante assessment of proposed rehabilitation works from an ecological and financial perspective on the basis of an agreed methodology and of individual site rehabilitation plans submitted by Bord na Móna.
  • Monitoring progress being made during each year on the implementation of each site rehabilitation plan from an ecological and financial perspective to include site visits.
  • Conducting an annual ex-post review of rehabilitation works carried out by Bord na Móna on each site to ensure they have been carried out to the requisite, pre-approved ecological, eco-hydrological and environmental standards and in line with the pre-approved cost and financial standards.
  • Liaising with the DECC in relation to the implementation of the scheme.
  • Engaging any external contractors to assist with the implementation of the functions, as required, in accordance with public procurement legislation and guidelines.

This request for tender is for the provision of full-time scientific/technical support to NPWS. The scientific/technical support will be provided by one individual rather than a team. Scientific/technical support will be required in relation to the tasks described below.

The successful tenderer will primarily be responsible for assisting in setting up the data structures to collate and manage the ex-ante assessment, monitoring and ex-post assessment of the rehabilitation works spatial data produced by the EDRRS for NPWS and any other relevant peatland data.

In addition, the successful tenderer will be responsible for managing the data arising from all such work, as well as data analysis, and provide advice in relation to compliance with the following: NPWS Ecological Data Management Unit data standards and procedures, legislation and policies including the Data Sharing and Governance Act 2019, INSPIRE Directive, the Public Sector Data Strategy, the Open Data Initiative and Open Data Directive, Habitats and Birds Directives and related Irish regulations, the Water Framework Directive and other EU Environmental Directives and relevant Irish regulations, the Wildlife Acts, and the Ramsar Convention.

Under the overall direction of the Senior Inspector/Principal Officer of the NPWS of the DHLGH, the appointee will be assigned to the Ecological Data Management Section of the Science and Biodiversity Unit. The work programme will be overseen by a Grade II Ecologist in the Science and Biodiversity Unit with technical supervision from the Ecological Data Management Unit.


  • Develop a GIS based data collation and management tool for the storing and management of all site specific rehabilitation plans spatial data including imagery and metadata compliant with international standards, suitable for integration with NPWS spatial data management systems.
  • Assist with the development of GIS web applications, and prepare and publish data layers, maps, as necessary.
  • Collate and maintain relevant raised bogs datasets including rehabilitation plans, ecological, hydrological, spatial data, imagery and related metadata.
  • In collaboration with the Ecological Data Management and GIS Units of NPWS, refine data structures for the capture of monitoring and assessment data.
  • In collaboration with the Ecological Data Management and GIS Units of NPWS, assist with the interpretation of remote imagery and the development of remote sensing methods to map changes in vegetation when required.
  • Derive statistics for relevant Biodiversity and Climate-related reporting obligations.
  • Develop and maintain effective linkages with organisations and individuals with relevant data holdings.
  • Maintain active engagement with the Ecological Data Management and GIS Units of NPWS to ensure compatibility with current and developing data standards and guidelines across all actions.
  • Attending weekly meetings with Bord na Mona as part of the EDRRS team.
  • Undertake other duties that may be assigned from time to time.