- Permit or other obligation
- Nationwide except the Åland Islands
- Public service
An environmental permit must be obtained for any activity causing a risk of environmental pollution – depending on the operation and scope thereof – either from an AVI Agency or a municipal environmental protection authority. The distribution of competence is specified in section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act and in chapter 1 of the Environmental Protection Decree.
Environmental permit applications are processed by the AVI Agencies for Southern Finland, Eastern Finland, Western and Inland Finland, and Northern Finland. AVI Southern Finland also processes the environmental permit matters for Southwestern Finland, and AVI Northern Finland handles the permits for Lapland. When necessary, AVI Agencies and ELY Centres offer advice on submitting the application to the right authority.
Activities requiring an environmental permit are specified in chapter 4 of the Environmental Protection Act.
An activity or a change in an activity may not be initiated before a valid environmental permit has been granted.
Content requirements for an environmental permit application are specified in chapter 2 of the Environmental Protection Decree. Detailed instructions on preparing applications are found at environment.fi, and instructions on preparing electronic applications at avi.fi. A permit application may require attachments, such as a Natura assessment, an environmental impact assessment or a state of nature report.
The permit authority shall announce the permit application by public notice, notify the parties concerned in the area of the activity, and request statements from the authorities and parties referred to in section 42 of the Environmental Protection Act and section 12 of the Environmental Protection Decree.
The applicant may then respond to the statements and objections within a deadline set by the authority.
The permit authority investigates the conditions for granting the permit and then either grants or refuses the permit. An environmental permit is usually valid until further notice, but the validity can be limited for particular reasons.
The permit authority delivers the decision to the applicant, the authorities who provided statements, and to those who have requested it. The parties concerned will receive a decision notice by mail.
The environmental permit decision may be appealed to the Vaasa Administrative Court. Instructions on lodging an appeal and a notice of the appeal period are attached to the permit decision.
Do the following
1. Check if the activities require an environmental permit and if the RSAA is the competent authority to process the application. Find out in advance if a Natura assessment, an EIA or a state of nature report is required.
2. Create a permit application that meets the requirements laid down in the Environmental Protection Decree and complies with the instructions issued by authorities and deliver to the RSAA well in advance of the planned starting time of the operations. An incomplete application, a need for clarifications, or amendments during processing may prolong the processing time by months. For detailed instructions on preparing an application, see the regional administration’s e-services, where you can also prepare and submit an application electronically. You can monitor the processing of your application online. If you cannot use the e-services, you can submit the application for processing by email. A natural person can submit the application and its appendices also as a paper copy. The application is submitted to the RSAA of the affected area.
3. If the permit authority asks for supplements, submit the requested information by the given deadline or contact the authority for a deadline extension.
4. When the permit authority has sufficient information about the operations and its effects, it notifies of the application by publishing a public notice and the application documents in a permit information service for at least 30 days. Information about the public notice is also published in the municipalities of the affected area. The parties concerned in the impacted area will receive a public notice letter. Significant applications are also published in a newspaper in the impacted area. During the public notice period, the authority requests statements on the application from the required authorities and other parties.
5. After the public notice period, the applicant will receive the statements and objections and has an opportunity to respond by a given deadline.
6. The decision is delivered to the applicant, the authorities who provided statements, and to those who have requested it. The parties concerned will receive a decision notice by mail. If a permit for the activity is granted, the permit holder shall comply with the issued permit regulations.
7. The issued decision is valid after the appeal period, if no appeal has been lodged to the Vaasa Administrative Court.
To whom and on what terms
The party preparing the application shall have sufficient expertise. If necessary, the applicant shall acquire assistance from a consultant for preparing the application.
If the application submitted to the permit authority is inadequate and prevents the resolving of the matter, the permit applicant shall, at the request of the authority, supplement the application by the deadline set in the request for supplementation. An application that is not supplemented within the deadline may be dismissed.
The conditions for granting an environmental permit are specified in sections 49–50 of the Environmental Protection Act.
A fee is charged for the service.
The permit authority will collect a fee for the processing of the application from the applicant. The fees are determined by the Government Decree on the Regional State Administrative Agencies’ Fees in 2019 and 2020. The collected fee is the same for both positive and negative decisions.
For environmental permit applications concerning a new activity or a change in an activity, the average target processing time at the Regional State Administrative Agency is 10 months. An activity or a change in an activity may not be initiated before a valid environmental permit has been granted.
Environmental Protection Act