Asking for information under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 (FOIA 2000) or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)

The NSTA is committed to proactively releasing as much information as appropriate.

If you would like more information about a particular subject, you can ask for this under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2000. Certain categories of information cannot be made available (for example for national security, personal or commercial sensitivity reasons - see below for more examples) and where any of this applies, it will be explained in our response, but, if we can, we will send you all or part of what you request. Please be as clear and specific as you can in your request and ensure that you provide a recognisable name and contact details for us to respond to.

Wherever possible we will provide information in the format you request.

How to submit Freedom of Information requests

Should you wish to submit a Freedom of Information or Environmental Information Regulations request to the NSTA, please send it by email to:

Other methods of submitting and answering FOI requests are available to anybody who is unable to use email. If you need to discuss these methods with us, please either write to us at: Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT or 3rd Floor, 1 Marischal Square, Broad Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1BL - or phone us on 0300 020 1010 or 0300 020 1090.

We aim to respond to requests within 20 working days unless the matter involves a complex test of the public interest, in which case it may take longer. You will be notified of the target date and we will let you know, promptly, if any extensions to this time limit appear likely.

If you are not satisfied with the response you can request an internal review by writing to the address which will be provided at the bottom of our response. We aim to respond to internal review requests within the same time frame as the original request - as set out above.

The review will normally be overseen and approved by a senior manager at Director level, different to the one whom oversaw the original response.

If you are still not satisfied, you can then complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which enforces and oversees the Freedom of Information Act.

For more information about Freedom of Information, contact the Ministry of Justice's Data Access and Compliance Unit at

Charges for Information

All of the information on the NSTA website at, or requested via a Freedom of Information request, is normally free of charge.

However, there are a few exceptions. Information which is free of charge on the website may, in paper format, be a publication for which there is a charge. A charge may also be made if copies/further copies are requested. Requests for information which is archived may also incur a charge. Charges will be based on costs of retrieval, photocopying and postage. When you request information, you will be informed of any charge. 

Please also bear in mind that both the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations have limitations on what is considered a reasonable cost or burden on the public service for providing information under the Acts. More information about this can be found in the links provided to the Ministry of Justice and the Information Commissioners Office.

Costs involved for providing information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 are as set out on the Information Commissioner’s Office website.

Model publication scheme

In accordance with Section 19 of the Freedom of Information Act, and the Information Commissioner’s guidelines, the NSTA is required to publish information in compliance with the model publication scheme, so that certain types of information are easily accessible without the need for individuals to make a specific request. The scheme specifies:

  • the classes of information we publish;
  • the manner in which it is published; and
  • that any charges for information are made clear

NSTA has applied the principles of the model publication scheme for non-departmental public bodies to its website.  Further information on publication schemes is available on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Information which is not available on request

As a regulator, the NSTA aims to be transparent and proactively make as much information available as it can available. The NSTA does, however, have to balance transparency with confidentiality as the NSTA is in receipt of much information which may not be appropriate for publication.

Under the Act, the NSTA is entitled to rely on certain exemptions to provision of information where such information is, for example, commercially sensitive, would prejudice investigation/law enforcement or legal privilige, would prejudice foreign relations, would cause an unwarranted invasion of privacy, has a legal duty of confidentiality, not in the public interest to disclose it or that disclosing it would hamper the NSTA’s ability to fulfil its regulatory duties. In such circumstances, the NSTA will not make such information available.

Section 22 of the Act also permits the NSTA to refuse to release requested information if that information is intended for publication at a subsequent date.

If you request information that we consider exempt under the Act, we will explain why we consider exemptions apply in our response.