Data and information access

 
As a publicly-funded organisation there are two pieces of legislation that affect access to data and information held by JNCC. They are the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations. Both are parts of a wider statutory programme to improve access to Government information that we are fully committed to helping to deliver.
 
The Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000 and came into force in January 2005. It gives the public a right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, but also sets out exemptions from that right.
 

The Environmental Information Regulations were first published in 1992 and amended in 1998. Revised regulations were published in 2004. They provide members of the public with the right to access environmental information held by public authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The regulations give the right to request environmental information from public authorities. They generally have 20 working days to provide requested information, providing it is not exempt.

 

We are committed to providing the most open access to the data and information we hold and we use the web to do it as far as possible to keep costs down. There are exceptional cases where JNCC will withhold access to some information and there exemptions listed under both pieces of legislation to allow this. All such decisions are based on a public interest test, which weighs up the balance of the interest to the public in releasing the data or information against the potential risk of damage access was allowed.

 

For the types of data that we hold there are two exceptions (under the Environmental Information Regulations) that are particularly relevant:

 

  • Protecting the interest of the data provider (especially in relation to data which has been voluntarily provided)
  • Protection of the environment to which the information relates (where the release of data or information could lead to environmental harm)