The environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure aims at reducing or preventing the negative environmental impact of projects. Examples of projects include highways, landfill sites and power plants.
In the EIA procedure, the impact of the project is assessed at the preparation stage, before any decisions are made and when the forthcoming solutions can still be influenced. The EIA procedure is a project planning tool, and its results should be taken into account when granting permits for projects.
The party developing the project is responsible for conducting the necessary environmental investigations. Developers can be individual companies or public actors, such as the Finnish Traffic Agency. The procedure is supervised and controlled by the Centres for the Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, who also act as coordination authorities. The coordination authority for nuclear energy projects is the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
All parties affected by the project can participate in the EIA procedure. The nature of the procedure is participatory and open.
The law defines the projects whose environmental impact must always be assessed. The procedure may be applied to smaller projects and projects not mentioned in the Decree, if the projects are considered to have detrimental environmental effects. If you think a project might have detrimental environmental effects which need assessing, please contact your local Centre for the Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, who will decide whether the procedure is needed.
Plans and programmes
The environmental impact assessment of plans and programmes means assessing the environmental impact of a plan or programme as part of the preparation process. The assessment is made by the authority preparing the plan or programme.
The aim of the procedure is to support the planning, implementation and monitoring of plans and programmes. The assessment provides information on the impact of the plan and its various alternatives. Furthermore, it increases participation in the preparation of plans and programmes.
Transboundary environmental impact
If the environmental impact of a project, plan or programme crosses national boundaries, the assessment is conducted in cooperation with the other country. If a project, plan or programme prepared in another country is likely to have a significant environmental impact in Finland, the Ministry of Environment is responsible for informing and consulting with the country in question and cooperating with other affected countries to ensure that everyone living in the affected area will have an opportunity to participate in the assessment.