The principle of access to environmental information is protected by the international and national legislation.
This right corresponds to the obligation and burden on the public administration to make public and disseminate such informations.
The importance of environmental information, especially for more complex procedures with a strong environmental impact, has led even before the adoption of Law nr. 241/1990 (which provides for general rules on administrative procedure and access to records), to approve art. 14 of Law nr. 349/1986 which identified the Ministry of the Environment‘s duties of environmental information and at the same time, in paragraph III, consecrates the right of each citizen to access ” the available information on the state of the environment, in accordance with the applicable law”, as well as the right to view and extract a copy of it and the right to view the available information on the state of the environment, in accordance with the applicable legislation, but also to extract a copy of it.
Over the years, the legislation has undergone numerous changes through the implementation of Community legislation such as Directive 90/313/EEC, which was transposed, albeit with extreme delay, by Legislative Decree Nr 39/1997 and with the ratification of the Aarhus Convention signed in 1998 and ratified in Italy by Law Nr 108 of 16 March 2001.
Subsequently, Directive 2003/4/EC was implemented with Legislative Decree nr. 195/2005, which represents the most significant achievement, to date, on the regulation of access to environmental information.
In this context, the legislator specified in art. 2 some important concepts such as:
- environmental information;
- public authority;
- information held by public authorities;
- the public.
The rule is inspired by the principles of timeliness in the release of information (30 days) and active collaboration of the P.A. with respect to private individuals seeking information.
We assist clients in administrative and judicial procedures relating to the protection of the right of access with particular reference to the provisions of art. 3 (“Access to environmental information on request”) and 5 (“Cases of exclusion of the right of access”) of Legislative Decree no. 195/2005.