Natural England - Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information

Natural England is committed to promoting and actively developing, a culture of openness, transparency and accountability embodied in the Access to Information legislation. This refers to the general right of access that the public have to the information held by Natural England and other public authorities.

Access to Information Logo

This right of access comes from:

  • The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)
  • The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs)
  • The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

These principles are defined in Natural England's Access to Information Statement: (87kb)pdf document. This statement sets out our commitment to our staff, stakeholders and the wider public about how we set about creating a public service organisation that is more open, transparent and accountable.

Legal background

This Access to Information legislation gives any person of any nationality the right to request information held by Natural England, or other public bodies. The information can be requested for any purpose. The legislation is fully retrospective. All Natural England’s information is covered by the legislation, in every format: requests apply to emails, personal notebooks, miscellaneous collections of papers, as well as our registered paper and electronic files.

The FOIA also requires each public body to produce a publication scheme stating the information, which it routinely makes available. Similarly the EIRs place a duty on us to progressively make information easily accessible to the public via electronic means.

Natural England is subject to the FOIA and EIRs. These pages explain how Natural England is conforming to the legislation, how individuals can exercise their rights in relation to information held by Natural England, and what staff need to do to ensure that Natural England meets its legal obligations. If you require access to information about yourself, please read our Data Protection pages instead.

Further information about your rights under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations are available on the website of the Information Commissionerexternal link.

Publication Scheme

Schemes are designed to act as ‘route maps’ to assist people to find key information which is routinely published by public authorities. It focuses on information relating to our key executive, advisory and promotional duties and also on the standards and guidance by which we make decisions. It describes the classes of information which we publish, providing appropriate examples of individual documents, and details the formats in which publications are available and whether any charges apply.

We recommend that you consult our Publication Scheme before you submit an Access to Information request, as many policies, procedures and other items of information are covered by the scheme. In addition, information, which is included in a publication scheme, is exempt from Access to Information requests as it is accessible by other means.

Disclosure log

The disclosure log shows responses to access to information requests that we regard as having a wider public interest. These have been released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and/or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Please note that the disclosure log does not list everything that has been released under the Access to Information Legislation. You can also view any releases we have made via the What Do They Knowexternal link website directly from that site.

Guidance and Policy

Submitting an Access to Information request: (68kb)pdf document
Explains how to Submit an Access to Information request, how Natural England will process your request and your right to appeal.

Access to Information Policy: (121kb)pdf document
Natural England's Access to Information Policy is binding on all Staff, and underpins our approach to conforming to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations.

Access to Information Procedures: (309kb)pdf document
The Access to Information Procedures are designed to help staff understand what they have to do to meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations. These procedures are for anyone in Natural England handling a request for information. The procedures include:

  • Initial receipt of a request;
  • Access to Information Team involvement; 
  • Handling a complex request; 
  • Release process; 
  • Refusal process; 
  • Public Interest Test process; 
  • Appeals process.

How to Handle a Request Flowchart: (103kb)pdf document
This easy to follow visual chart clearly shows the different stages of handling a request for information.



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