First court decision on environmental information rules

The Environmental Information Regulations 1992, implementing the EC Directive on the subject, introduced for the first time in the UK a broadly based statutory right to environmental information held by public bodies. R v British Coal Corporation ex parte Ibstock Building Products (Queens Bench Division, 21 October 1994) is the first decision of the higher courts concerned with the regulations, and although the case was heard towards the end of last year the full judgement has not been widely reported. This is due in part to the fact that the main issue concerned a question of legal costs, yet the court's interpretation of various aspects of the regulations has important implications for many public authorities, and especially for private businesses and individuals concerned with the development of potentially contaminated land.

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