Environmental damage legislation

The prevention of accidents and other pollution incidents is regulated by maritime transport legislation, chemicals legislation and nuclear energy legislation, in addition to the environmental legislation.

The liability to restore polluted environments primarily falls on the party responsible for causing damage. By virtue of the Environmental Protection Act, a supervisory authority may initiate measures to restore a polluted environment. The responsibility for cleaning polluted soil and groundwater reserves is specified separately in section 14 of the Environmental Protection Act.

Compensation for personal and property damage as well as the costs of response and restoration work, is governed by the Act on Compensation for Environmental Damage, instead of the general legislation concerning compensation. In addition to this, statutory environmental damage insurance is used to compensate for environmental damage as specified in the Act on Compensation for Environmental Damage (737/1994). Section 10 of the Maritime Act is applied for compensation for oil pollution caused by ships, whereas the Nuclear Liability Act is applied in relation to nuclear damage.

The EU Environmental Liability Directive on the prevention and remediation of environmental damage (2004/35/EC) has been enforced through the Act on the Remediation of Certain Environmental Damages, amendments to the Nature Conservation Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Water Act and the Gene Technology Act, as well as the Government Decree on the Remediation of Certain Environmental Damages.

More information

Mari-Linda Harju-Oksanen, erityisasijantuntija 
Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Protection Department, Emissions and Environmental Risks 0295250554  


Katariina Haavanlammi, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Legislative Affairs 
Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Protection Department, Emissions and Environmental Risks 0295250072  


Merja Huhtala, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs 
Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Protection Department, Emissions and Environmental Risks 0295250088