An appeal to help a University of Dundee project (summary version)

Who uses the public’s right to access environmental information? What information is disclosed under the right? In what ways do solicitors make use of this information in advising clients? These are some of the questions being explored in a research project at the University of Dundee – Uncovering the Environment: The Use of Public Access to Environmental Information.

The project is investigating how individuals, including solicitors, and non-governmental organisations use their right to obtain environmental information from Scottish public authorities. Our aim is to analyse the operation of the law, discovering how, and to what extent, this right is used by members of society. To assist in this, we are conducting a survey on the experiences of individuals and non-governmental organisations in using the right to access environmental information, both through published data and through specific requests.

The issues highlighted through these surveys will be further explored through interviews and workshops with users and holders of environmental information.

Information gathered will allow us to assess the impact that the law has had on promoting better governance and achieving better environmental outcomes. Is access to environmental information actually delivering the benefits it was designed to achieve? How might the system be improved to make it less burdensome for authorities and more useful for the public, including members of the legal profession?

Are the needs of the legal profession unique when compared to those of the general public? By exploring and answering these questions, we aim to contribute positively to how both users and public authorities understand and engage with this right of access in Scotland and the UK.

To take part in our survey, find out more information about the project and its findings or to contribute to the project, please visit our website, or contact the project researcher, Sean Whittaker


The Author
Colin T Reid   A fuller article is on Journal here.
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