A key output of the “Uncovering the Environment: The Use of Public Access to Environmental Information” project was the publication of a report summarising the project’s findings on how the right of access to environmental information was implemented and utilised in Scotland. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the publication of this booklet was delayed.
Today, the project team is pleased to release the summary report of the findings arising from the “Uncovering the Environment: The Use of Public Access to Environmental Information” project. The project’s findings indicate that there are two distinct categories of users: “personal users”, who use the right in a personal capacity, and “professional users”, who use the right as part of their job. While these two categories of users, and the users within each category, engage with the right differently and for different reasons, both categories rely on proactively disclosed environmental information as a key source of environmental information from public authorities.
The project has also found that Scottish public authorities are broadly complaint with the obligations imposed under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004. Nevertheless, a key finding arising from the project is that many users are dissatisfied with how Scottish public authorities provide access to environmental information and how they enable participation in environmental decision-making procedures. This indicates a mismatch between how users and public authorities perceive environmental decision-making procedures, the role of the public in such procedures and the value of environmental information disclosed under the right of access to environmental information.
The summary report is available through the below link: