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An exception from the protection of certain natural habitats

  • Permit or other obligation
  • Nationwide except the Åland Islands
  • Public service

The Water Act prohibits endangering the natural state of small waters. The party responsible for the measures can apply for an exception from Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI).

Under the Water Act, the following small water systems are protected in their natural state:

  • coastal lagoons and lakes created by an uplift with a maximum area of ten hectares
  • springs
  • streamlets outside the region of Lapland
  • ponds and lakes with a maximum area of one hectare.

A streamlet is a small rivulet that does not always have a stream of water. The amount of spring water also varies with the seasons. In addition to these, small ponds and lakes are vital habitats for many species.

Endangering the natural state of small water systems is prohibited, which applies to all operations that affect their natural state.

Do the following

Application for an exception is submitted to the Regional State Administrative Agency either in conjunction with a permit application or separately. The application can be submitted electronically in the permit service for environmental matters.

To whom and on what terms

An exception from the protection of a small water system's natural habitat is possible upon application, as long as the protection of the aquatic habitat is not notably risked.

When evaluating the prerequisites for allowing an exception, detailed information is required regarding the features of the target and how common similar small water systems are. The area for examination is usually a municipality or region. The applicant is responsible for providing the necessary information to process the application.

You can find an abundant amount of case laws and decisions by permit authorities regarding granting exceptions. An exceptional permit concerning coastal lagoons created by an uplift was published in the yearbook for decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court in 25 January 2001 (KHO:2001:8).

A fee is charged for the service.

Processing matters regarding the Water Act or Environmental Protection Act is subject to a fee. Fees are determined by the Government Decree on Regional State Administrative Agency fees in 2019 and 2020. If the amount of work deviates from what is mentioned in the chart, the fee can be reduced or increased by 35 per cent.

Basic information

The service is provided byRegional State Administrative Agency
Responsible for the serviceRegional State Administrative Agency
Area Whole Finland (except Åland)
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish
Text edited by: Regional State Administrative Agency
Updated: 9/19/2019