Memorandum by the Department
of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
2000 (S.I. 2000/1043)
1. The Committee has requested
a Memorandum on the following point relating to the Environmental
Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Other Dangerous
Substances) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 ("the 2000
requirements of regulation 11 in relation to inventories are disapplied
by paragraph (5)(b) in the case of information which would be
protected by regulation 4 of the Environmental Information Regulations
1992 (confidentiality) "if it were information to which those
 Regulations applied". Explain why the protection afforded
to confidential information by regulation 4 of the 1992 Regulations
has been applied to the contents of inventories compiled under
these (2000) Regulations which are not of the kind to which the
former Regulations apply; and the effect which the provision is
intended to have".
2. Regulation 2(1)(c)(ii) of
the Environmental Information Regulations 1992 ("the 1992
Regulations") excludes from the application of those regulations
information contained in records which are required, in accordance
with any statutory provision, to be made available for inspection
by every person who wishes to inspect them. "Statutory provision"
is defined as including a provision made under an enactment.
3. In the Department's view,
inventories and revised inventories under the 2000 Regulations
are "records" as defined in regulation 2(4) of the 1992
Regulations. So the information contained in them (certainly so
far as it is information which must be included under regulation
9(2) of the 2000 Regulations) is excluded from the application
of the 1992 Regulations, because of the specific requirement imposed
on the Environment Agency by regulation 11(1) of the 2000 Regulations
to make the inventory available for inspection.
4. Regulation 11(1) of the 2000
Regulations is intended to give members of the public access to
information which is in practice speedier than that which they
would have under the 1992 Regulations. But the policy is to maintain
the same exceptions from disclosure as would otherwise apply under
the 1992 Regulations to information held by the Environment Agency.
For example, information about the location and description of
particular electricity or communications equipment (regulation
9(2)(b) of the 2000 Regulations) may relate to national defence
or public security (regulation 4(2) of the 1992 Regulations, as
amended); the Department would not wish the information to be
made available in these circumstances.
16th May 2000