Legislation on environmental impact assessments

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) of projects

Finnish legislation in the Act on Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure applies to all projects that may be expected to have considerable negative environmental impacts. The Act lists the types of projects that must always be subjected to EIAs, such as motorways, airports, large harbours, and major poultry- and pig-farming facilities.

EIA procedure may also be required for individual projects where harmful environmental impacts are likely, on the basis of decisions made by the regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

Further information

Counsellor Seija Rantakallio, Ministry of the Environment, [email protected],
tel +358 295 250 246

Environmental assessments of plans and programmes

The environmental impacts of plans and programmes must be assessed if these may have significant environmental impacts.

New legislation covering environmental assesment of authotories´ plans and programmes came into force in Finland on 1.6.2005. The new legislation aims:

  • to ensure that environmental impacts are assessed and duly considered during the preparation and approval of authoroties´ plans and programmes,
  • to improve the availability of information, and provide more opportunities for public participation in planning and
  • to promote sustainable development.

The new legislation includes the same general obligations applied in the earlier legislation and in addition specifies the content requirements and assessment procedures that must be followed for certain types of plans and programmes.

The new legislation has been drafted in accordance with both the EU SEA Directive (2001/42/EC), which requires that environmental assessments should be carried out for certain types of strategic plans and programmes, and a related protocol of the United Nations' Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on strategic environmental assessments.

The SEA Directive and the UNECE SEA Protocol have also required amendments to Finland's Land Use and Building Act and Decree.  

The regulations concerning the assessment of environmental impacts in the managing of water resources are included in the Act on Water Resources Management.