Access to information

The Environmental Information Regulations 1992 (and 2004) created a right of access for all to Environmental Information subject to UK exceptions, while the Data Protection Act  2018 gave individuals the right of access to information held about themselves. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 has been designed to establish further this culture of openness and transparency in public administration.

It gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, sets out exemptions from that right and places a number of obligations on public authorities. A ‘Public Authority’ is defined in the Act, and includes but is not restricted to, central and local government, non-departmental public bodies, the police, the health service and schools, colleges and universities.  Any person who makes a request to a public authority for information must be informed whether or not the public authority holds that information and, subject to exemptions, be supplied with that information.

The purpose of this scheme is to make the maximum amount of information readily available at minimum inconvenience and cost to the public. Charges made by the authority for routinely published material will be justified and transparent, kept to a minimum and are in accordance with a published schedules of fees.

Information on the fees DAERA charge can be accessed on the link below:

Charges may also be made for making datasets (or parts of datasets) that are relevant copyright works available for re-use. These charges will be in accordance with the terms of the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015, where they apply, or with regulations made under section 11B of the Freedom of Information Act, or with other statutory powers of the public authority.

If a charge is to be made, confirmation of the payment due will be given before the information is provided. Payment may be requested prior to provision of the information.

This page describes how to request information from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development including the use of our Publication Scheme. 

How to access information from DAERA

DAERA will regularly and proactively publish and release information in response to the needs of the community, taking into account, areas where there is a recognised public interest in the information held by the Department.

The publication scheme is a web based directory of information released by DAERA. 

Requesting information from DAERA

If you have searched the Publication Scheme and have not found the information you are looking for you can ask for information through the following legislation.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI)- applications for information must be in writing including email.

Environmental Information Request 2004(EIR) – applications for information can be in writing or verbally by phone or in person.

Data Protection Act 2018- under the Data Protection Act individuals have a right of access to information held about them by DAERA (although this is subject to some exemptions). These requests are known as Subject Access Requests (SAR) and must be in writing. If you want to ask us for information which we may hold about you personally then this will be dealt with under the Data Protection Act 2018.

Before responding to your request, the Department might have to consult third parties including other public authorities in order to reach a decision on disclosure, particularly if they had provided the information to us in the first place. 

Where there are a large number of third parties, we might contact a representative body or sample instead to help inform our decision.

In these instances it is really important for the Department to hear their opinion on how releasing the information to the world at large is likely to affect them.  Even if they object, the Department might still release the information to you if we think it’s in the public interest.

In certain circumstances you may be required to pay a fee before the information can be provided.

When requesting information please include the following details:

  • your name and address; (proof of identity is required for a Subject Access Request )
  • the information you would like to access
  • the way you would like the information to be sent to you (for example as hard copy, via email, etc.)

You can submit FOI, EIR and SAR requests via e-mail by using the following e-mail address:

A leaflet, (FOI Right to Know), is also available explaining how we process requests for information.

Information relating to DAERA’s compliance with its statutory duties is contained in the NICS Annual Report which is published by the Executive Office, to access this report, click here. This report contains information on both the handling of initial requests and internal reviews.

DAERA FOI Policy Statement

The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affair’s FOI Policy Statement affirms its commitment to compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act). The aim of the Act is to promote a culture of greater openness and accountability between the Department and the public and to facilitate better understanding of how we carry out our duties, why we make the decisions we do and how public money is spent.

DAERA Privacy Statement

The Department takes data protection, freedom of information and environmental information issues seriously. It takes care to ensure that any
personal information received from you is dealt with in a way which complies with the requirements of the General Data Protection
Regulations (2016). This means that any personal information you supply will be processed principally for the purpose for which it has been

Full details of the Statement are available at the link below:

Access to your information, correction and complaint

The Department wants to make sure that your personal information is accurate and up to date and we will only keep the information for as long as we need to. You have the right to request a copy of the information that we hold about you and you may also ask us to correct or remove information you think is inaccurate.  If you feel that the Department has not acted in line with the requirements of Data Protection Act you also have a right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office.

Other websites

Our website contains links to other websites. This privacy policy only applies to this website so when you link to other websites you should read their own privacy policies.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We keep this privacy notice under regular review and we will place any updates on this web page. This privacy notice was last updated on 19 January 2017.

How to contact us

If you have any questions about this notice or the information we hold about you, please contact us using the details contained within the next section”.

How long will it take to get information from DAERA?

The legislation requires us to respond to your request for information within 20 working days (one calendar month for right of access requests) of the date of receipt. This timescale may be extended if the information requested is extensive, or if we have to consider if providing it is in the public interest, or if we are waiting for you to pay a fee.

Please be as specific as possible about what information you want. If necessary, we will contact you to ensure we understand your request clearly and this may add to the time we need to respond. It is also important to tell us whether you want the information sent to you on paper or by email, and whether you have any particular requirements. Information may be available in other languages or formats on request.

If you are uncertain of how to make a request or want guidance on the information held by the Department, you can contact the Information Management Branch and we will arrange for someone to assist you.

Information Management Branch
Room 507
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast BT4 3SB


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