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Responsible for the service ELY Centre

Exception concerning private protected areas

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

In some cases, it is possible to request an exception to the declarations of preservation of private protected areas.

The effective prohibitions and restrictions concerning a nature reserve on private land are presented in the relevant protection decision. The protection decisions may also determine some actions to be subject to permission. Exceptions to the declarations of preservation are requested from the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) whose operating area the concerned nature reserve is located in. An exception to the declarations of preservation concerning a nature reserve can be made if the exception does not jeopardise the purpose for which the reserve was established, and it is necessary for the maintenance, use or research of the area.

If an exception is requested to prohibitions concerning species, in addition to requesting an exception to the declaration of preservation concerning the protected area, it may be necessary to separately request an exception to the general protection provisions of the Finnish Nature Conservation Act or to the prohibitions concerning species in the Habitats Directive Annex IV, as they are effective everywhere.

Exceptions concerning nature reserves in the state’s lands are generally requested from the relevant authority, Metsähallitus or the Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla. In certain cases, the Ministry of the Environment may act as the licensing authority.

Do the following

When requesting an exception, it is good to have information on the target of protection (e.g. property or protected area identifier) that the exception concerns. In all cases, information is required about the relevant project, its effects and any alternative solutions as the object is to endeavour for a solution that harms the area as little as possible.

Submit your exception application online by filling in an electronic form (a private person’s online form, a company’s/entity’s/operator’s online form, a municipality’s online form, an authority’s online form).

To whom and on what terms

The decision on establishing the nature reserve or the rules and regulations that govern the relevant area state what kind of actions an exception granted by the licensing authority may permit. They may concern, for example, permissions to catch animals or collect plants for research purposes, fishing permits, permits for geological research or ore prospecting. A permission may sometimes be needed also for movement within the area, for example.

A prerequisite for granting exceptions is that they must not jeopardise the purpose for which the nature reserves were established. Many nature reserves are also Natura 2000 areas. When applying for an exception, the applicant must therefore explain the effects that the planned actions may have on the area’s Natura designations if necessary.

A fee is charged for the service.

The exception is subject to a fee and the fees can be found on the website: A government decree on the fee-based services of the ELY Centre, TE Offices and KEHA Centre.

Basic information

The service is provided byCentre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
Other responsible organisationsELY Centre for Varsinais-Suomi, ELY Centre for North Ostrobothnia, ELY Centre for North Savo, ELY Centre for Satakunta, ELY Centre for Lapland, ELY Centre for Southeast Finland, ELY Centre for Häme, ELY Centre for Central Finland, ELY Centre for Kainuu, ELY Centre for Pirkanmaa, ELY Centre for North Karelia, ELY Centre for Uusimaa, ELY Centre for South Savo, ELY Centre for South Ostrobothnia, ELY Centre for Ostrobothnia
Responsible for the serviceCentre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment
Area Whole Finland (except Åland)
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish
Text edited by: ELY Centre
Updated: 17/8/2020