Personal information charter

How the Environment Agency (EA) treats your personal information and how to check what details they hold about you.

This information charter sets out the standards you can expect from us when we process your personal information (also called personal data).

Processing of personal information

This includes:

  • collecting
  • using
  • storing
  • disclosing
  • disposing

We are a data controller. A data controller determines how and why personal information is processed.

We will follow all applicable UK and EU data protection laws in how we treat your personal information.

We will ensure that your personal information is:

  • protected and kept secure
  • kept accurate and up to date
  • only used lawfully, fairly and for purposes compatible with those for which it was collected
  • kept only for as long as it is needed (unless it must be kept as part of the historic record)

Your information rights

You have the right to be informed about the collection and use of your personal information. Some information is provided in this charter, such as your information rights and how to contact us. We will provide specific privacy information to you when we collect your personal information (or as soon as possible if we obtain your data from another source).

You have the right to:

  • ask us for a copy of the personal information we hold about you – a ‘subject access request’
  • challenge the accuracy of personal information we hold about you and ask us to correct it, delete it or complete it by adding more details
  • ask us to delete personal information we hold about you
  • request that we limit how we use your personal information
  • ask us to transfer your personal information to another organisation, or provide it to you in a machine-readable format
  • object to us using your personal information
  • prevent us from using automated processing

Some rights only apply in certain circumstances. Information about this is provided in more detail on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Contact us to find out how to exercise any of your information rights and which rights apply to personal information we hold about you.

Privacy notice

When we obtain your personal information, we will provide privacy information to you, usually as a ‘privacy notice’.

This will tell you:

  • what we’ll use your personal information for
  • why we’re legally able to process it (also called the ‘lawful basis for processing’)
  • how long we’ll keep it
  • who we’ll share it with, if applicable
  • whether it will be transferred or accessed outside the UK or EU, and what legal protection it will have, if applicable

Contact us if you need assistance with accessing privacy information for a particular service.

Storing and processing your personal information

We will only keep your personal information for as long as necessary, in line with statutory, regulatory, legal or security requirements, or based on historic value. Details will be in the relevant privacy notice.

We will store and dispose of your personal information securely, protect it and only give access to the people that need it.

We will only use your personal information in ways that are compatible with the purpose(s) set out in the relevant privacy notice and this information charter.

Where we process your contact details to provide a service to you, we may use your contact details to:

  • invite you to complete surveys
  • provide feedback
  • attend consultations

We’ll do this to improve our service. You can ask us not to do this.

In most cases your personal information will be stored and processed inside the European Economic Area (EEA). When your personal information will be transferred outside the EEA, we will inform you and let you know what safeguards are in place.

Sharing your data

In some cases a data processor will process your personal information on our behalf. We may also share your personal information with other organisations - details will be on the relevant privacy notice.

We will not make your personal information available to a third party without your permission, unless we are permitted or required to do so by law.

We may have to release personal information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 if data protection laws allow.

We may be under an obligation to publish personal information on a public register. We will tell you if this applies to your personal information in the relevant privacy notice.

We will share your personal information if we are permitted or required to do so by law – for example, by court order, to prevent fraud or for the investigation of civil disputes or criminal offences.

Processing personal information for law enforcement purposes – privacy notice

This privacy notice gives details about how we process personal data specifically for law enforcement purposes. It should be read in conjunction with the rest of the personal information charter.

We regulate activities that may impact the natural environment and investigate environmental offences. As part of our role as an environmental regulator, we process personal information under Part 3 of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018) to:

  • detect and prevent crime
  • take enforcement action
  • prosecute and apprehend offenders

We may collect and process personal information about you when investigating alleged environmental offence as a data controller. This may include sensitive personal information, such as health or ethnic origin, where it is necessary for our law enforcement purposes.

If we process your personal information for law enforcement purposes, we:

  • may include it in press releases about prosecutions
  • will not disclose it to any other party without your explicit consent unless it is lawful to do so
  • do not use it to make an automated decision or for automated profiling
  • retain it in line with our retention schedule - this takes into account the type, content and sensitivity of your personal information
  • store and process it in the UK
  • will not transfer any personal information that you provide outside the European Economic Area, unless allowed by law

Legislation governs our activities as the environmental regulator. This gives us authority to investigate suspected or alleged offending. Our lawful basis for processing your personal information under the DPA2018 is that it is necessary for performing tasks carried out for law enforcement purposes as a Competent Authority.

If the Environment Agency restricts your rights to information about the processing under the DPA2018 you have the right to:

  • be informed that we have restricted your rights
  • request the ICO checks with us why we have restricted them
  • lodge a complaint with the ICO at any time about how we process your personal data
  • apply to a court if there has been an infringement on your rights

Contact us

If you are already in contact with one of our teams, you can direct your query through them.

This includes requests to exercise any of your rights under data protection laws.

For any other queries:

Contact our Data Protection Officer

Our Data Protection Officer is responsible for giving independent advice and monitors the Environment Agency’s use of personal information.

If you are unhappy or have any concerns about how we process personal information, or if you would like to make a complaint relating to data protection, please contact:

Data Protection Officer
Environment Agency
Horizon House
Deanery Road


Independent advice on data protection and privacy

Contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for independent advice about data protection, privacy and data-sharing issues. You have the right to lodge a complaint with the ICO about any of our information rights practices.

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane


ICO Contact form Telephone 0303 123 1113 Textphone 01625 545860

Changes to this personal information charter

We keep our personal information charter under regular review. This charter was last updated on 25 March 2019.