What is environmental information

Below is a simplified version of the definition of Environmental Information. To read a full definition please read article 3 of the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations.


Environmental information can be in any form, such as written, visual, aural, or electronic. The presence of environmental information in a document does not make all of the information in the document environmental information.

Elements of the environment

Environmental information discusses or covers the state of elements of the environment and how they interact. These elements include;

  • Air and atmosphere
  • Water, soil, landscape and natural sites including wetlands
  • Coastal and marine areas
  • Biological diversity and its components
  • Genetically modified organisms

The factors which may affect them

It also covers factors which affect or may affect the above elements. For example;

  • Substances
  • Energy
  • Noise
  • Radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges
  • and other releases into the environment

Measures or activities that may affect or protect them

It includes any measures or activities (including administrative measures and protective measures) affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to above. This includes;

  • policies
  • legislation
  • plans
  • programmes
  • environmental agreements

Reports and analyses

Environmental information also includes;

  • reports on the implementation of environmental legislation
  • cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to above.

Human health and safety

Environmental information includes information about human health and safety, where it is affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to above or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to the factors or measures paragraphs. It includes;

  • The contamination of the food chain
  • Conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures