Skip to main content

Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations Requests

Requesting Public Information

If you would like to request public information under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act or the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) from Durham University you should first check that it is not already publicly available in accordance with our Publication Scheme. The University website also contains a large amount of information and has a search facility.

For other information requests, please refer to the Requesting Information page for more options and details.


Please note that, the University, like other organisations, is facing unprecedented challenges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some resources have been diverted away from usual compliance and information rights work and despite best efforts it may not be possible to respond to FOI and EIR requests within normal timescales.

The difference between FOI and EIR

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 are broadly similar in purpose but vary in their detail, in that the latter:

  • Permits information requests to be submitted orally as an alternative to permanent form
  • Permits extension of the 20 day response time limit to 40 days where the request is complex and voluminous
  • Permits recovery of the full cost of providing information as there is no threshold for fees charging
  • Permits application of exceptions (not exemptions) which are all subject to the public interest test
  • States that emissions information has special status and normally must be supplied on request.

Freedom of Information Requests

A request must be made in a permanent form by a named individual supplying a correspondence address, whether that be a postal address or an email account.

Please write to:

Information Governance Unit
University Secretary's Office
Durham University
The Palatine Centre
Stockton Road

Alternatively, please email

Environmental Information Requests

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 provide rights of access to environmental information held by Durham University. Requests for access to environmental information are processed according to these regulations rather than the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The definition of "environmental information" is varied but can be summarised as:

(a) 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;
(b) 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 (a);
(c) measures (including administrative measures), such as policies, legislation, plans, programmes, environmental agreements, and activities affecting or likely to affect the elements and factors referred to in (a) and (b) as well as measures or activities designed to protect those elements;
(d) reports on the implementation of environmental legislation;
(e) cost-benefit and other economic analyses and assumptions used within the framework of the measures and activities referred to in (c); and
(f) 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 (a) or, through those elements, by any of the matters referred to in (b) and (c).

Please write to, or email, the Information Governance Unit as above.

You may also make your request by telephone (0191 334 6119) or in person at the Reception desk of the Palatine Centre, Stockton Road, Durham, DH1 3LE.


A charge may be made for the provision of information. The Government has approved the Statutory Instrument that sets out the regulations for charges that are permissable in relation to information requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Further details will be provided before the request is completed.

Requesting a Review

If you are dissatisfied with the University's response to your Freedom of Information request, you may ask that the decision is reviewed internally. To do this, please write to the following address:

Information Governance Unit, University Secretary's Office, Durham University, The Palatine Centre, Stockton Road, Durham DH1 3LE


Please state the grounds on which you wish the decision to be reviewed and enclose any other information that may be useful in considering the matter further. We aim to inform you of our decision within 20 working days from the date your request for internal review is received.

If you are not satisfied with the results of the internal review you may apply to the Information Commissioner's Office for an independent review.

Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF