Environmental Information

December 19th, 2019 by James Goudie KC

The question that arose in DoT v ICO (2019) EWCA Civ 2241 was as to the application to the information in issue of the definition of “environmental information” in the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (“the EIR”), implementing EU Directive 2003/4/EC. The case concerned information of potentially “mixed character”: some environmental material, and some not.

McCombe LJ referred from paragraph 26 to DBEIS v ICO and Henney (2017) EWCA Civ 844 (“Henney”) and the overriding principles there set out by Beatson LJ, and said:-

“32. In seeking to provide “guidance” for the general run of cases where “mixed” information is in issue, it seems to me that one will rarely need to do more than apply these principles to the information as a whole, in order to see whether (in the context of the whole and applying a broad and holistic view) the disputed elements of the information are “on” the “measure” in question. I would not wish to expand on those principles in the present case.

32. A Tribunal or court is perhaps also wise to exercise caution when dealing with information which may lie on the borderline of information generally disclosable under the EIR and information which may attract an absolute exemption from disclosure under FOIA.”

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