The municipal environmental protection authority
Municipal environmental authorities grant environmental permits to activities that are significant at the local level. The Environmental Protection Decree (713/2014) determines which activities are controlled by municipal authorities.
The municipal environmental protection authority also acts as the supervising authority referred to in the Environmental Protection Act (527/2014), Water Act (587/2011) and Waste Act (646/2011) and makes decisions on application issues under the Water Act. The municipal environmental protection authority also has authoritative tasks related to the Chemical Act (599/2013), Cross-Country Traffic Act (1710/1995), Act on Water-borne Traffic (463/1996) and the Act on Water Services (119/2001).
Municipalities also grant permits for land extracting resources. The Land Extraction Act governs extraction of resources, such as gravel, and the related permits and monitoring. The environmental protection board may be the municipal licensing authority, but the board of construction or the technical board, for example, can also carry out the task. It is also possible to organise the tasks of the municipal environmental protection authority jointly with two or more municipalities. The Municipal Executive Board cannot act as the municipal environmental protection authority.
Authority on chemicals
The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) controls and promotes technical safety and conformity as well as consumer and chemical safety. Tukes operates in areas such as chemical production plants, mining, explosives, construction products, consumer safety, and the ecological and energy efficiency of products. Tukes is tasked with the surveillance of products, services and production systems within its various sectors and enforces the relevant legislation. Under the Chemicals Act and EU Chemicals Regulations, Tukes is responsible for the national chemicals product control and the information service related to it. Tukes also maintains the Finnish chemicals product register.
Tukes monitors large-scale industrial handling and storage of dangerous chemicals. These operations are subject to a licence issued by Tukes. Small-scale industrial processing or storage of hazardous chemicals is monitored by the rescue service authorities. One must submit a notification of small-scale industrial processing and storage of dangerous chemicals to the rescue authorities.
Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira
The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira researches and monitors the quality and safety of food products and agriculture and forestry production, as well as animal and plant health. Inspections, research and supervision are concerned with primary production (e.g. seeds, fertilisers, feeds, grain quality, organic production and animals), i.e. institutions and factories where raw materials are processed and refined. Wholesale and retail trades are also monitored. You can find information on self-monitoring and food premises approval, for example, on the Evira website (evira.fi).
Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI)
There are six Regional State Administrative Agencies in continental Finland. Their areas of responsibility concerning environmental permits process and decide on permits required under the Environmental Protection Act and Water Act. The agencies also process administrative compulsion issues under the Water Act and most indemnity issues arising from water contamination. The Regional State Administrative Agencies of Southern Finland, Eastern Finland, Western and Inland Finland in addition to Northern Finland look after the area of responsibility respective to environmental permits.
Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre)
In Finland, there are 15 Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) and 13 ELY Centres operate in the area of responsibility for Environment and natural resources. The areas of responsibility for the environment and natural resources at ELY centres comprise the supervision of permits under the Environmental Protection Act and Water Act as well as administrative compulsion issues under the Environmental Protection Act. The areas of responsibility also comprise environmental protection, waste management control, land usage and construction control, cultural environment management, natural diversity protection and sustainable usage as well as the monitoring of the state of the environment in their areas. The use and maintenance of water reserves under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are also managed within these areas of responsibility. On a national level, some environmental tasks have been centralised to certain ELY Centres. For instance, the ELY Centre for Pirkanmaa is in charge of producer responsibility issues under the Waste Act, and the ELY Centre for North Ostrobothnia is in charge of environmental protection in peat production.
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
The Finnish Environment Institute SYKE is a research and development centre in the environment branch, and it also manages some national official duties. It produces information on the environment, the development of its condition and the factors affecting it, assesses alternative development directions, and develops solutions for the promotion of sustainable development. SYKE collects, edits and supplies environmental information and manages the reporting duties required by EU environmental legislation and international treaties. SYKE also manages tasks related to the maintenance and use of water reserves.