On the Approval of the Procedure for the Provision of Environmental Information of the Republic of Lithuania to the Public


Published: 0000-00-00

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Consolidated version as of 24/06/2014
 
 
Government of the Republic of Lithuania
 
 
RESOLUTION No 1175
 
ON
 
THE APPROVAL OF THE PROCEDURE FOR THE PROVISION OF ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA TO THE PUBLIC
 
22 October 1999
 
Vilnius
 
Aimed to implement the Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information and repealing Council Directive 90/313/EEC (OJ 2004, Special edition, Chapter 15, Volume 7, p. 375), Directive 2003/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment and amending with regard to public participation and access to justice Council Directives 85/337/EEC and 96/61/EC (OJ 2004, Special edition, Chapter 15, Volume 7, p. 466) and Measure No 2 under the Action Plan for the implementation of the decisions for Lithuania adopted at the third meeting of the parties to the Aarhus Convention, approved by Resolution No 979 of 26 August 2009 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2009, No 108-4542) the Government of the Republic of Lithuania has resolved
 
to approve the Procedure for the provision of environmental information of the Republic of Lithuania to the public (as appended).
 
 
 
Prime Minister                                                                     Rolandas Paksas
 
 
 
Minister of Environment                                                     Dainius Lygis
 
 
 
 
 
 
APPROVED
 
APPROVED
 
by Resolution No 1175 of the Government of the
 
Republic of Lithuania of 22 October 1999 (as amended by Resolution No 102 of the Government of the
 
Republic of Lithuania of 10 February 2010)
 
 
 
PROCEDURE FOR THE PROVISION OF ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA TO THE PUBLIC
 
 
 
I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
 
 
1. Procedure for the provision of environmental information of the Republic of Lithuania to the public (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Procedure’) defines measures aimed at ensuring the right of the public to access the environmental information of the Republic of Lithuania held by or for public authorities and the right to use such information, as well as ensuring the accessibility to such information and stipulates conditions under which such information is to be provided. The Procedure shall not be applied to the provision of information on the plans and programmes concerning the protection of air and water as well as waste management that are under preparation and to the participation of the public in the drawing up of such plans and programmes, including the establishment of the procedure thereof.
 
2. "Environmental information" shall mean any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on:
 
2.1. the state of the elements of the environment (such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites including wetlands, coastal and marine areas, biological diversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms) and the interaction among these elements;
 
2.2. factors (such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, including radioactive waste, emissions, discharges and other releases into the environment) affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment referred to in paragraph 2.1 of the Procedure;
 
2.3. measures (including administrative measures), such as environmental agreements, policies, legislation, plans, and programmes of various fields and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in paragraphs 2.1. and 2.2. of the Procedure as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements;
 
2.4. reports on the implementation of environmental legislation;
 
2.5. cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in paragraph 2.3. of the Procedure;
 
2.6. the state of human health and safety, including the contamination of the food chain, where relevant, conditions of human life, cultural sites and built structures inasmuch as they are or may be affected by the state of the elements of the environment referred to in paragraph 2.1. of the Procedure or, through those elements, by any of the factors, activity or measures referred to in paragraphs 2.2. and 2.3. of the Procedure.
 
3. The requirements of the Procedure are mandatory to public authorities that generate environmental information (hereinafter referred to as ‘the information’) or holds it.
 
4. For the purpose of this Procedure:
 
"Applicant" shall mean any natural or legal person requesting environmental information.
 
"Public authority" shall mean:
 
Government, municipal or other public administration authority;
 
any other natural or legal person performing public administrative functions and making decisions that have or may have impact on the environment;
 
any natural or legal person subordinate to or functioning under the control of the abovementioned public authority whose actions have or may have impact on the environment.
 
"Information held by a public authority" shall mean environmental information in its possession which has been produced or received by that authority.
 
"Information held for a public authority" shall mean environmental information which is physically held by a natural or legal person on behalf of a public authority.
 
"Public" shall mean one or more natural or legal persons, and their associations, organisations or groups.
 
5. Other terms used in the Procedure correspond to the terms used in the Law on the Right to Obtain Information from State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 2000, No 10-236; 2005, No 139-5008).
 
 
II. PREPARATION AND PROVISION OF ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION
 
6. Information held by or for a public authority shall be provided upon the submission of an oral or written request. Having received an oral request the public authority shall provide such information that may be provided in an oral form if the applicant does not request it to be provided in a written form. A written request submitted by the applicant shall include the following information:
 
6.1. name of the applicant (where the applicant is a legal person) or name and surname (where the applicant is a natural person), address, and telephone number, if available;
 
6.2. requested information in detail;
 
6.3. indication of a form in which the requested information should be provided.
 
7. Information shall be provided to the applicants free of any obligation to state an interest.
 
8. Information shall be provided in the form as requested by the applicant (in a written/oral form, by providing access to the documents, in an electronic storage medium, by telecommunication means, etc.), except cases specified in paragraph 9 of the Procedure.
 
9. If the applicant does not indicate the form in which the information should be provided or if the form of information provision is not possible due to technical reason or if the information was provided to the public in another form, or if the public authority reasonably assumes that due to certain reasons information should be provided in another form, that public authority shall provide the information requested in a form at its own choice (and indicate the reasons).
 
10. If the information requested is not held by the public authority by which the request is received, it shall transfer the request to the competent authority holding such information not later than within 5 working days from the day on which the request was received and shall inform the applicant accordingly not later than within 3 working days from the day on which the request was transferred. If the public authority that received the request of the applicant holds only part of information requested and it is possible to provide it separately from all the information requested, that public authority shall provide such information in line with the provisions and terms of the Procedure and transfer the request concerning the rest of information to the competent authority in line with the provisions and terms of this paragraph.
 
11. Information must be provided to the applicant at the latest within 14 calendar days from the day on which a request was received.
 
If the request was submitted in line with the provisions of paragraph 10 of the Procedure, the applicant must receive the answer not later than within 14 calendar days from the day on which the reply from another authority was received.
 
12. If the wording of the applicant’s request is unclear or certain detailed information as indicated in paragraph 6 of the Procedure is missing, the public authority at the latest within 5 working days shall ask the applicant to specify the request and shall assist the applicant in doing so by indicating the missing information and explaining possible ways to get it; if information in the request is inaccurate, the public authority shall explain the inaccuracy and possible ways to correct it. In the latter case the deadline for information provision shall be calculated from the day on which the public authority received the revised request.
 
13. If the volume and the complexity of the information is such that 14 calendar days period cannot be complied with, the head of a public authority may decide to extend that period for a maximum of 14 calendar days. In such cases, the applicant shall be informed at the latest the next working day of any such extension and of the reasons for it.
 
14. If the applicant is of the opinion that the answer to the request is inaccurate or lacks details, the applicant may ask for additional information. The public authority shall provide additional information within 5 working days from the day on which the repeated request was received.
 
15. If the applicant is of the opinion that the information provided is incorrect or lacks details, or if the applicant received no reply within 2 months from the day on which the information had to be provided or another decision in relation to it had to be taken, the applicant in line with the provisions of the Procedure has the right to appeal against the actions or delay of that public authority to the administrative court or the Administrative Disputes Commission in line with the procedure specified in the Law on Administrative Proceedings of the Republic of Lithuania within a month from the day on which the reply was received.
 
 
 
III. INFORMATION NOT TO BE PROVIDED
 
 
16. Information may not be provided, if:
 
16.1. the information requested is not held by the public authority and public authority is not obliged to hold such information in line with the legislation in force;
 
16.2. the public authority asks the applicant to specify the request or data listed in paragraph 6 in line with paragraph 12 of the Procedure, but the applicant fails to do that;
 
16.3. the request concerns information and data that are still collected, are under preparation or raw, taking into account the public interest served by disclosure.
 
17. If information is not provided because the material is still under consideration, the public authority shall inform the applicant about the authority responsible for the preparation of such information and preliminary date of preparation of the information in question.
 
18. Public authority does not provide information, if such provision would:
 
18.1. disclose information that is a state or professional secret in line with the legislation in force;
 
18.2. be against the interests of state security and defence protected by the laws;
 
18.3. adversely affect international relations;
 
18.4. infringe the right of a person to fair trial protected by the law or in line with the legislation in force such provision would be regarded as inhibition for judicial or state institutions to carry out an investigation or an examination in criminal, civil or administrative proceedings; 
 
18.5. disclose information that national or European Union law defines as a commercial (manufacturing) secret or break the confidentiality of statistical data and data of taxpayers protected by laws;
 
18.6. infringe intellectual property rights protected by the laws;
 
18.7. violate the legal protection of personal data, except in cases specified in Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1996, No 63-1479; 2003, No 15-597; 2008, No 22-804), Law on Provision of Information to the Public of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1996, No 71-1706; 2006, No 82-3254) and Law on Documents and Archives of the Republic of Lithuania (Official Gazette, 1995, No 107-2389; 2004, No 57-198);
 
18.8. adversely affect the protection of environment to which the abovementioned information is related, for example, make harm to rare species and communities, their habitats, location sites and origin sites protected by the laws;
 
18.9. concern internal administration and interinstitutional co-operation, taking into account the public interest served by disclosure;          
 
18.10. adversely affect the interests of persons, who supplied the information requested on a voluntary basis without being under an obligation according to the laws or other legal acts to do so, or threaten their safety.
 
19. The public authority shall inform the applicant about the refusal to provide information on the grounds stipulated in paragraphs 16 and 18 of the Procedure as well as the grounds of such refusal and the right to appeal such a decision in line with paragraph 15 of the Procedure at the latest within 5 working days from the day on which the request was received.
 
In all the cases when a decision not to provide information is taken one must ensure that the protection of the interests indicated in paragraph 18 of the Procedure is of higher importance than the necessity to ensure the right of the applicant to receive information.
 
20. If it is possible to separate part of information from the one described in paragraph 18 of the Procedure as information not to be provided, the public authority without prejudice to the confidentiality requirements for information not to be provided and having informed the applicant in advance shall provide the part of information it may provide to the applicant. The requirements of paragraphs 18.1, 18.5, 18.7, 18.8 and 18.10 of the Procedure shall not apply when the applicant requests information concerning the pollution of environment.
 
 
 
IV. DISSEMINATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION AND QUALITY OF INFORMATION
 
21. Public authorities must within their competence prepare and disseminate information indicated in paragraph 22 of the Procedure to the public as well as help the public access to such information. Public authorities shall ensure that the public is properly informed about the rights granted to it under the Procedure as well as all other relevant information and advice. They shall make every necessary effort to ensure that the public could get easy access to environmental information held by or for public authorities through public telecommunication means (internet webpages, electronic databases) or available in such a form or format that are readily reproducible or accessible by computer telecommunication or other electronic means.
 
22. The information to be made available by public institutions within their competence shall include:
 
22.1. texts of international treaties, conventions or agreements, and of European Union and national legislation as well as decisions of municipal institutions on the environment;
 
22.2. policies, strategies, plans and programmes of various fields relating to the environment;
 
22.3. progress reports on the implementation of the documents referred to in paragraphs 22.1 and 22.2. of the Procedure when prepared and held in electronic form by public authorities;
 
22.4. national, regional and municipal, if any, reports on the state of the environment (published regularly, but not less frequently than every four years); such reports shall include information on the quality of, and impact on, the environment;
 
22.5. data or summaries of data derived when monitoring the state of environment and the activities affecting, or likely to affect, the environment;
 
22.6. decisions with a significant actual or likely impact on the environment and environmental agreements or a reference to the place where such information can be requested and accessed;
 
22.7. environmental impact assessment documents and assessments concerning the environmental elements referred to in paragraph 2.1 of the Procedure or a reference to the place where the information can be requested and accessed.
 
23. Public authorities may satisfy the requirements of paragraph 21 of the Procedure by creating links to Internet webpages where the information referred to in paragraph 22 can be found. If at the moment of the entry into force of the Procedure the information held for or by public authorities is not available in an electronic form, public authorities are not obliged to put such information into Internet webpages or electronic databases.
 
24. Public authorities within their competence shall ensure that the information held by or for them is updated, accurate and detailed.
 
25. Upon request to provide information referred to in paragraph 2.2 of the Procedure, public authorities shall report to the applicant on the place where information, if available, can be found, on the data collection procedures, including methods of analysis, sampling or referring to a standardised procedure used.
 
 
V. CHARGES FOR THE PROVISION OF INFORMATION
 
26. Information held by or for public authorities shall be free of charge.
 
27. In line with the procedure stipulated in the laws and other legal acts the applicant shall cover only costs related to the provision of information (for example, costs incurred when making a copy, publishing costs, etc.).