The Ministry of the Environment’s Administrative Branch
The Ministry of the Environment’s branch of administration consists of a number of independently operating institutes and agencies carrying out the social objectives of the ministry and participating in projects included in the government programme.
Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) is a multidisciplinary environmental research and development centre. In addition to research and development operations, the Institute provides expert services and operates as a permit and supervising authority in matters related to, for example, the international transport of waste and the international trade in endangered plants and animals.
Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA)
The tasks of the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA) include
- promoting ecologically sustainable, high-quality and affordable housing
- developing the existing housing stock and residential environments
- supporting the improvement of housing conditions among low- and middle-income households and special groups
- granting benefits, subsidies and securities for housing and construction
- directing and monitoring the use of the ARA housing stock
- relaying information about the housing market and maintaining related information services
Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres)
The Ministry of the Environment directs the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) in tasks that fall within the remit of the ministry. The ELY Centres have their own regional areas of operation. In the ELY centres, the following tasks fall under the environment and natural resources area of responsibility:
- environmental protection and conservation
- guidance of land use and construction activities
- management of the cultural environment
- use and management of water resources
- monitoring of the state of the environment
Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI)
The Ministry of the Environment directs the Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI) in matters related to environmental permits. There are six Regional State Administrative Agencies in Finland, of which four issue environmental permits.
The Regional State Administrative Agencies operate as state permit authorities according to the Water Act and the Environmental Protection Act. Under the Environmental Protection Act, they are responsible for processing environmental permit applications for projects that have a major impact on the environment, and they handle all permit applications under the Water Act.
Other environmental permits are handled by municipal environmental protection authorities. In the use and management of water resources, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry directs the Regional State Administrative Agencies.
The Ministry of the Environment guides Metsähallitus in matters related to nature conservation. Metsähallitus manages Finland’s national parks and nature reserves, other protected areas, and wilderness and recreational areas. It is responsible for the management, use and public services of protected areas, wilderness areas and recreational areas, and for the national conservation and monitoring of many threatened species, biotopes and Finland’s cultural heritage.
Municipalities are responsible for local-level environmental and housing matters.
A-Kruunu is a state-owned company entrusted with a special assignment that operates under the guidance of the Ministry of the Environment. Its task is to build affordable rental apartments in the fastest growing areas in Finland.
The company’s construction operations were launched in 2014 and the building of the first new sites got started in summer 2015. At the end of 2020 the company owned 1,455 reasonably priced apartments and 1,155 were under construction.
The aim is to build about 800 apartments per year, most of them in the Helsinki area and other fastest growing areas. The construction projects must be based on a significant and long-term need for affordable housing in the region. Factors to be taken into account when choosing the sites include the general demand for rental housing in the residential area and a suitable location with regard to the community structure.
The aim is to raise the percentage of wooden apartment buildings to about a third in 2024. In its operations the company promotes carbon reduction, the use of wood in construction, a circular economy and new innovations, with due account for the objectives listed above. When selecting residents to the rental apartments, the principles of good selection are complied with by allocating the apartments to households that need affordable rental apartments the most, while taking into account the diverse profile of residents living in rental buildings. The company operates on a long-term basis, follows the good practices of the sector, and operates in accordance with the guidelines issued on the ownership policy of state-owned companies.