Environmental impact assessment
Environmental impact assessment aims to integrate environmental considerations into the preparation of projects, plans and programmes in the early stage of planning. Consultation of stakeholders and public participation is an integral part of the assessment.
Finnish legislation on environmental impact assessment is based on respective EU directives. The UN/ECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and the ECE Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment have also been taken into consideration.
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) of projects is regulated by the Act on Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure. Projects that require assessment include for instance motorways and large waste tips.
Plans and programmes
The authorities must investigate and assess the environmental impacts of their plans and programmes in preparation if the implementation of the plan or programme may have a significant effect on human health, the natural environment and biodiversity, the built environment, the landscape or natural resources.
Environmental assessment of plans and programmes is regulated by the Act on the Assessment of the Impacts of the Authorities' Plans and Programmes on the Environment (SEA Act) which entered into force on 1.6.2006.
If a project, plan or programme prepared in Finland is likely to have significant environmental impacts to a territory of another country, the Ministry of Environment is responsible for informing and consulting the affected country. In cases where Finland is likely to be affected, the Ministry communicates the Finnish views to the other state. Finland and Estonia have established a bilateral agreement where the arrangements for these cases are determined in more detail.