The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) allow people to request environmental information from public authorities and organisations carrying out a public function.
Requests for environmental information held by, or on behalf of, a public authority will be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
EIR requires that information is provided within 20 working days, however this deadline can be extended to 40 working days where the request is both complex and a large amount of information is required.
In some circumstances public authorities may not have to provide the information requested if the request falls under one or more of the exceptions.
Information provided for free
We provide free access to a wide range of information through:
- Our website (see suggested web pages below)
- Access to any public registers which we hold
- Customer Service Centre on Horne Lane in Bedford and at libraries throughout Bedford Borough which are fully equipped to provide computer access to information. Our staff are happy to assist where necessary. Please let us know if you wish to make use of this assistance and we will arrange a suitable time for your visit.
Charging for information
Public authorities are entitled to charge for complying with environmental information requests as long as the amount to be charged is reasonable. The charge must not exceed the cost of producing the information.
When a charge is involved, where possible we will suggest alternative information that may be of interest to you or ways to refine your request that could reduce the fee. In exceptional circumstances we may decide to reduce or waive our usual fee.
If appropriate, the fee will be calculated based on the cost of our responding to the request. This includes:
The cost of staff time will be charged at £25 per hour in accordance with the recommended hourly charge under the Freedom of Information Act when requests exceed the fees limit in that Act. This hourly (or part thereof) charge includes the time required to locate and retrieve the requested information. It does not include the initial cost of determining whether we hold the requested information, or time taken to decide whether the requested information can be released.
Photocopying will be charged at 10p per A4 black and white sheet of paper. Postage costs if appropriate will be charged at cost.
In response to your request (and if a charge is to be made) we will issue you with a Fee Notice. This will include a schedule detailing the tasks involved in responding to the request and associated costs.
We will provide you with the requested information upon payment of the fee. Payment may be made via our Pay it online facility, by cheque (made payable to Bedford Borough Council), or you may visit the Customer Service Centre, Horne Lane, Bedford, MK40 1RA.
If the fee is not received within 60 working days of sending the Fee Notification we will assume that you no longer require the information requested.
Making a request for information
Before submitting a request for information under EIR please take time to have a look at the links on our Publication Scheme or other pages on our website, such as:
- Environmental issues
- Planning including highways, conservation, archaeology and trees
- Business including health and safety, food safety standards, pest control and animal health.
- Transport and streets
- Bins and recycling
- Historic environment including conservation areas
- Land and premises including markets and business rates
- Regeneration projects
- Developers active in Bedford
- Parks and open spaces
You can make a request for environmental information:
- by email: Freedomofinformation@bedford.gov.uk
- by completing this form or by any other means provided for by statute
- by letter to the following address: Freedom of Information, Bedford Borough Council, Borough Hall, Cauldwell St, Bedford, MK42 9AP
Bedford Borough Council ensures any personal data collected will be retained securely for as long as necessary and only used for legitimate Council activities to facilitate the delivery of Council services, or for the purpose of preventing and/or detecting fraud and/or crime, in accordance with the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018.
Go to GOV.UK for further information regarding EIR.