Environmental authorities

The municipal environmental protection authority

Municipal environmental authorities grant environmental permits to activities that are significant on the local level. The Environmental Protection Decree determines which activities are controlled by municipal authorities. These include the following

  • timber mills whose production capacity is at least 10,000 m³ annually
  • factories where metal is finished chemically whose process bath volume is less than 30 m³
  • fixed concrete mixing plants or casting yards
  • textile wet-cleaning enterprises whose capacity is at least 500 kg per day, or dry cleaners
  • bakeries whose flour consumption is at least more than 20,000 tonnes annually

The municipal environmental protection authority acts as the supervising authority referred to in the Waste Act and as the supervising and licensing authority referred to in the Water Act. The municipal environmental protection authority also has authoritative tasks related to, e.g. legislation on cross-country traffic (maastoliikennelaki), water-borne traffic (vesiliikennelaki) and the Act on Water Services.

Municipalities also grant permits for 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.

Authority on chemicals

The municipal chemicals supervision authorities are tasked with local control of the Chemicals Act and any regulations derived from it. The tasks of municipal chemicals supervision authorities on a local level are as follows:

  • supervising overall legitimacy under the Chemicals Act,
  • supervising the drafting of chemicals classifications, labelling, packaging and safety data sheets,
  • supervising new substances and biocides,
  • supervising compliance with prohibitions and restrictions concerning chemicals, and
  • supervising the sale, other transferring and storage of chemicals hazardous to the health and the environment.

Small-scale industrial processing or storage of hazardous chemicals is monitored by the rescue authorities. You must prepare a notification of chemicals concerning small-scale industrial processing and storage of hazardous chemicals for the rescue authorities, e.g. the regional rescue centre.

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.

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)

There are 15 Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment in Finland. The areas of responsibility for natural resources and environment at the 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, land usage, 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.

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.

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