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Responsible for the service Regional State Administrative Agency

Changing a valid environmental or water permit

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

Decisions concerning environmental and water permits that have gained legal force are primarily valid until further notice (permanently), apart from permits that are granted for a fixed term. The permit decision has solved the matter in a manner that binds all parties. The decision is primarily ultimate. However, the permit authority can make changes to a permit following an application by the permit holder or a proposal by another party. The provisions of the Environmental Protection Act and Water Act regarding the prerequisites for making amendments to a permit and those who are eligible for the initiation are not uniform. A factual or typing error in the decision can be fixed in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

Environmental permit

  • changing a permit on account of the permit holder’s application
  • changing a permit on account of a proposal, for example, when the operations have illegal consequences or the circumstances have fundamentally changed
  • changing or verifying a fisheries obligation and fee
  • changing the monitoring regulations
  • giving regulations that concern terminating the operations if the regulations in the permit decision are not sufficient
  • lapse of a permit, if the operations have not been initiated within five years, for example.

Water permit

  • changing or verifying a fisheries obligation and fee
  • verifying the permit regulations and giving new regulations for, for example, safety reasons or if the project has caused unexpected damages
  • clarifying the regulations (ambiguity of the decision)
  • ordering the permit to lapse, for example, if the project has lost its original purpose
  • amending old permits that were granted in accordance with former legislation on account of the valid Water Act’s transitional provisions
  • changing the permit regulations on account of the permit holder's application (minor change).

Permit changes can often be processed less formally than usual. However, fundamental changes to operations subject to an environmental permit or applications to significantly change a water resources management project are processed in standard permit procedure. It is part of good governance that all parties involved are heard sufficiently.

Do the following

Please contact an ELY Centre or municipal environmental protection authority first. The supervisory authority has necessary information concerning, for example, the permit status. On account of a contact, the supervisory authority can take measures to monitor common good or legality in operations. Check your right to make initiations or proposals.

Prepare and submit an application or proposal electronically to the Regional State Administrative Agency. To ensure immediate initiation, the application or proposal should be submitted separately, not in conjunction to a reminder, for example.

To whom and on what terms

In order to amend a permit, an application or proposal is required from the party that, under legislation, is entitled to make amendments.

Primarily, the permit holder has a right to apply for a change to a valid permit. The supervisory authorities have extensive rights to initiate applications. In some cases, the municipality that is affected by the project or operations can also apply for a change. Otherwise, the right to initiate is solved specific to each case, based on the party status and the rules of the association or foundation. Additionally, there are regulations to protect the rights of the Sami people.

Parties involved refers to all parties whose right, benefit or duty may be affected by the matter – such as the party suffering damage. The association or foundation must be registered, and its purpose must be to promote the protection of environment, health or nature or habitability of a residential environment and in the operating area of which, in accordance with its rules, the environmental effects in question appear. The permit authority can withhold from processing a matter, if the customer has no legal right of initiation.

The proposal or application should specify what kind of changes should be made to the permit and why. To prompt the procedure, it is recommended that the information concerning the application is presented as comprehensively and in detail as possible, already during the initiation stage.

The conditions and criteria are listed in sections 88–94 of the Environmental Protection Act and chapter 3, sections 21–24 and chapter 19, sections 5–16 of the Water Act.

The permit authority may also choose to amend a valid permit in certain exceptional circumstances (such as to lapse an environmental permit and clarify a decision concerning a water permit).

Matters initiated by an authority or the party suffering damage are processed free of charge. Matters initiated by others may be subject to a fee, if the initiation is considered evidently unfounded. An operator has to pay a fee to change their environmental permit. Fees are determined by the Government’s act on the Regional State Administrative Agency’s fees in 2019 and 2020.

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: 9/9/2020