Article 9(1) of Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information provides that: 'Not later than 14 February 2009, Member States shall report on the experience gained in the application of this Directive. They shall communicate the report to the Commission not later than 14 August 2009'. To this effect, the Commission had to forward to the Member States a Guidance Document setting out clearly the manner in which it wished the Member States to report.
Although later than the date intended in the Directive, the Commission carried out in 2006 a consultation with government experts from the Member States under the aegis of an expert group set up by the Commission to discuss issues relating to the implementation of the Aarhus Convention. The Guidance Document was agreed upon by the Commission and the experts from Member States. On 19 June 2007, it was forwarded to the Permanent Representations of the Member States to the EU for dissemination to the competent authorities in each Member State.