Environmental permits are needed in Finland for all activities that may lead to pollution of the air and water or contamination of the soil. Water permits are needed for other activities affecting constructions in waters or the water supply. Permits may be granted to individuals or companies. Advice on permit application procedures is available from Finland's 13 Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, the four Regional State Administrative Agencies, local environmental authorities or the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).
Exceptional planning permission may also be required for certain types of building and changes in land use. Permits are also compulsory for waste transportation. The principle of PIC (Prior Informed Consent) requires exporters trading in a list of hazardous substances to obtain the prior informed consent of the authorities in the importing countries before proceeding with the export. Exporters must also make a notification to the authorities of the importing country about the first export during each calendar year of each listed chemical.
Official decisions on all permit applications are made public.