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Environmental information – public access (Aarhus Convention)

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Environmental information – public access (Aarhus Convention)

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 – application of the Aarhus Convention

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS REGULATION DO?

It requires the EU's institutions and various bodies to implement the obligations contained in the Aarhus Convention. These obligations guarantee the public* access to information, participation in decision making and access to justice on environmental issues.

KEY POINTS

EU institutions and bodies must:

guarantee the public access to environmental information* they receive or produce

ensure that environmental information is progressively made available and disseminated to the public

provide for early and effective public participation on environmental plans and programmes

grant the public access to justice on EU environmental matters

avoid any discrimination based on citizenship, nationality or domicile when treating a request for environmental information

organise the information in databases which the public can easily access

update the information as appropriate and ensure it is accurate and comparable

inform an applicant within 15 working days if they do not have the information being requested.

Environmental databases or registers must contain:

texts of international treaties, conventions or agreements, policies, plans and programmes

progress reports on implementation of the above items

steps taken in proceedings for infringements of EU law

monitoring data of activities that could affect the environment

authorisations given which could affect the environment

environmental impact studies and risk assessments.

Non-governmental organisations which meet certain criteria may request an EU institution carry out an internal review of an environmental matter.

Requests for information are considered to be open to the public. They may only be refused in specific circumstances, such as ongoing legal proceedings or if they might harm the environment by, for instance, revealing breeding sites of rare species.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

The Regulation entered into force on 28 September 2006. It became applicable from 28 June 2007.

BACKGROUND

The Aarhus Convention

KEY TERMS

* The public: one or more natural or legal persons, including associations, organisations or groups of people.

* Environmental information: any written, visual, aural, electronic or other form of information on environmental issues.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies (OJ L 264, 25.9.2006, pp. 13–19)

last update 18.11.2015

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