Confidentiality

Whenever information is kept confidential by a Member State in accordance with Article 4 of Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information, the Member State has to indicate, separately for each type of data, the reason for which it has been withheld.
According to Directive 2003/4/EC, Member States may refuse disclosure of environmental information if it would adversely affect:

  • confidentiality of proceeding of public authorities – Article 4(2)(a)
  • international relations, public security or national defence - Article 4(2)(b)
  • the course of Justice- Article 4(2)(c)
  • confidentiality of commercial or industrial information – Article 4(2)(d)
  • intellectual property rights- Article 4(2)(e)
  • confidentiality of personal data  related to a natural person– Article 4(2)(f)
  • the interest or protection of any person providing data on a voluntary basis – Article4(2)(g)
  • the protection of the environment to which such information relates – Article 4(2)(h)

With regard to theidentification of a facility, its name and address can only be kept confidential if the name of the facility refers to natural person.
With regard to information on pollutant releases and off-site transfers in waste water, confidentiality can only be claimed under the following grounds:

  • international relations, public security or national defence - Article 4(2)(b)
  • the course of Justice- Article 4(2)(c)
  • intellectual property rights- Article 4(2)(e)

Furthermore, in the case of data regarding releases and off-site transfers of pollutants in waste water, only the name of the pollutant can be kept confidential. In this case, the name must be replaced by the name of a pollutant group to which it belongs and the total releases and transfers have to be reported at the level of the pollutant group. The method of measurement/calculation does not have to be reported.