What kind of permits and notifications are required for organising an event?   

Many different parties supervise the organisation of public events. Depending on the event, the event organiser must apply for the required permits well in advance from different authorities or notify the required authorities.

Public events have been defined in the Assembly Act (22 April 1999/530) and the Rescue Act (Rescue Act, section 16). According to the applicable legislation, the organiser of a public event must ensure that the event is organised safely so that it does not cause a risk to people, the environment or property. The organiser is always responsible for the event, its effects, and drawing up the plans and reports required by the event. The event must have one named responsible organiser that takes care of the event as a whole. 

There is no simple answer for how to determine when permits and notifications are required for an event. According to the decree related to the Rescue Act, events with more than 200 participants are treated as public events.

Some of the events are private events, which do not require separate permits, applications or notifications. However, if such an event can be considered to have an effect on public order and safety, it constitutes a public event.

Information about the most common permits of various types can be found below, collected under their respective headings. Please note that depending on the event, other permits, notifications and measures in addition to the ones mentioned here may also be required.

If you are not sure whether you need permits or not, you can find instructions on public events at the websites of the authorities, or you can check with the responsible authority, if necessary.

Land use permit (7–30 days)

The organiser of a public event must gain the consent of the owner or possessor of the event location for the event. The City of Espoo grants land use permits for short-term events. You can find more information in the section on event locations.

Traffic arrangements (7–30 days)

Does the event require closing a street off partially, setting a temporary speed limit or making exceptional parking arrangements? A decision on temporary traffic arrangements is always required, if permanent traffic arrangements need to be changed due to a street event, for example. The temporary permits concerning traffic control and signal devices are short-term and subject to a fee. Typical permits include, for example, a permit for covering a parking prohibited-sign temporarily and placing temporary signs in the event area. The recipient of the permit is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the temporary traffic arrangement, regardless of who implements it in practice. Temporary traffic arrangement permit applications and their attachments must be submitted at least one week before the permit is needed. A plan drawing of the traffic arrangement must be attached to the permit application. In Espoo, the permit issues are processed by the infrastructure services of the Public Works Department.

Public Works Department/infrastructure services
09 816 25100
More information and application instructions

After hearing the party responsible for the maintenance of the road, the police have the right to make the decision to close off a road temporarily in connection with events such as sports competitions, public festivals and exhibitions. If necessary, the police make the decision to assign temporary traffic controllers for a specific task or for a fixed period.
Road Traffic Decree, section 2
Police instructions on a permit for closing off a road

If thousands of participants are expected for the event, the HSL, VR, Espoo taxi companies and/or taxi inspectors should be informed about the major event. If necessary, the taxi inspector can arrange on-call duty for taxis at events with a large audience. You can request an offer for transport for the visitors from companies providing chartered buses.

Notifying the police (5 days)

The organiser of a public event must notify the police in writing at least five days before the start of the event. A notification is not necessary, if the public event does not require special traffic arrangements or measures to maintain order and safety or prevent harm to bystanders and the environment due to reasons such as the small number of participants, the nature of the event, or the event location.

Western Uusimaa Police Department

Nihtisillankuja 4 / PL 20, 02631 Espoo
0295 430 281
Instructions and application

Rescue plan (14 days)

The event organiser must draw up a rescue plan for public events and other events that pose a significant personal risk or fire safety risk due to the large number of participants or some other special reason. The rescue plan of a public event must review and assess the risks and hazards of the event. They are used to define the event’s safety arrangements and the instructions given to the personnel responsible for implementing the event as well as its participants in order to prevent accidents and inform them on how to act in case of accidents and dangerous situations. The rescue plan of a public event must be delivered for the information of the area’s rescue authorities at least 14 days before the start of the event.

Länsi-Uusimaa Rescue Department/on-duty fire prevention officer
PL 6700, 02070 Espoon kaupunki
09 8162 6815 (weekdays from 9am to 11.30pm)
Instructions, a guide on drawing up a rescue plan and a plan template

First aid (14 days, included in the rescue plan)

If necessary, the event organiser must arrange sufficient first aid readiness for the event depending on its nature. The number of first aid personnel must be in relation to the number of participants, the risks and the size of the event area. A written plan must be drawn up on arranging the first aid and attached as a part of the rescue plan. A major event may require risk identification and on-site first aid services. Various organisations (such as the Finnish Red Cross) and many private companies offer first aid services for public events. For more information, see the previous section “Rescue plan”.

Waste management (30 days)

In Espoo, the environmental requirements for events apply to outdoor events for more than 500 people, at which unpackaged food is served or sold. According to the environmental requirements, the event organiser must deliver a waste management plan to the Environment Department 30 days before the event. If necessary, the Environment Department advises the event organiser in planning the waste management.

Espoo Environment Department
09 8162 4832, 09 8162 4842 (weekdays from 8am to 15.45pm)
Download a template for an event waste management plan (in finnish, pdf, 17 Kt)

Noise (30–60 days)

The event may cause a noise disturbance in the environment. The Environment Department supervises and guides noise abatement in Espoo. A noise notification must normally be submitted for large outdoor concerts that are held in the evening or night or that last for several days. A notification may also be required for other larger outdoor events depending on factors such as the event times, the noise level of the event and how close it is to habitation. The event organiser must contact the Espoo Environment Department at least 60 days before the event to find out if it is obliged to make a noise notification. The organiser must deliver the noise notification to the Environment Department at least 30 days before the event. The need for a noise notification on events has been described in more detail in section 25 of the City of Espoo environmental protection regulations.

Espoo Environment Department
09 8162 4832, 09 8162 4842 (weekdays from 8am to 15.45pm)
043 824 6048 (environmental inspector responsible for noise issues)
Instructions and application
Environmental protection regulations

Public performances of music

A permission of the authors of the music is required for the performance of both live and recorded music at public events; the authors are usually represented by copyright organisations such as Teosto and Gramex.  Playing music in the street does not require a permit by the city or the authorities, but playing music in public streets requires copyright permission from Teosto, for example. Other permit issues related to the noise caused by music have been described in the previous section, “Noise”.

Fireworks displays (14 days)

The use of fireworks is regulated by the Government decree on the monitoring of manufacture and storage of explosives (819/2015). A private person is only permitted to use consumer fireworks without notifying the rescue authorities on the night of New Year’s Eve from 18:00 to 02:00. The police must always be notified of professional fireworks displays. The police must always grant a permit for a fireworks display held at a public event in accordance with the Assembly Act, regardless of whether professional or consumer products are used. The police must be notified at least 14 days before the fireworks display is held.

Western Uusimaa Police Department/advice on permits
0295 413 161 (weekdays from 9am to 11am)

If the fireworks display is held from 24:00 to 07:00, or if fireworks with a diameter over 100 mm or with comparable noise levels are fired after 22:00, a noise notification must also be submitted to the Espoo Environment Department. The regulation does not apply to fireworks used at New Year. More information can be found in the section “Noise”.

Länsi-Uusimaa Rescue Department/on-duty fire prevention officer
09 8162 6815 (weekdays from 9am to 11.30pm)
Instructions and application

Lotteries (30 days)

According to the Lotteries Act, a lottery licence is required if the lottery involves the following three elements: chance, a charge for participation and a prize of monetary value. The licence application for a lottery taking place in Espoo is submitted to the licence office of the Western Uusimaa Police Department, and 1 month should be reserved for processing the licence. If the lottery takes place within the areas of several police departments, the application for a lottery licence is submitted to the National Police Board. Advice is provided by the licence service of the police.

Western Uusimaa Police Department/advice on permits
0295 413 161 (weekdays from 9am to 11am)

Serving alcoholic beverages (1–2 months)

Alcoholic beverages may only be served by a party, to which a Regional State Administrative Agency has issued a licence to serve alcoholic beverages.
The licence to serve alcoholic beverages is granted by the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland based on a written application. A licence to serve alcoholic beverages can be granted until further notice, for a fixed period, or on a temporary basis. Approximately 1–2 months should be reserved for the processing of the licence application.

The landowner’s permission is also required for the serving and sale of such beverages in public areas. You can find more information in the section on event locations.

Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland
0295 016 000 (weekdays from 8am to 16.15pm)
More information and applications

Selling food (4–28 days)

If the event organiser so desires, it can submit a single report on all of the parties providing food-related services at its event. The food service provider itself has the actual duty to report. Regular food service providers must notify the Espoo region environmental health care services of their arrival at least four days before the event. Smaller parties preparing, selling or serving small amounts of food are fully exempt from the duty to report, if the food safety risks related to the activity are minor. Such activities are typically occasional and the amounts of food handled are small. Events like this include, for example, selling food at a bazaar, coffee served by a hobby club, a sports club barbecuing sausages at a local competition or a pop-up restaurant with low risk organised by a private individual. The primary sources of advice in issues related to the monitoring and handling of food are the health inspectors on duty in Espoo. For more information, you can also contact the food inspectors at the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland or the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira.

Espoo region environmental health care services
PL 210, 02070 Espoon kaupunki
09 816 23900 (weekdays from 8.30am to 12am)
Instructions and application

The landowner’s permission is also required for serving and selling food in public areas. You can find more information in the section on event locations.

Smoking tobacco at public events

Smoking tobacco is prohibited by law in the audience area at public events (concerts, festivals and similar events). The event organiser is responsible for ensuring that the smoking prohibition is realised. A separate, clearly marked area can be reserved for smoking. If tobacco is to be sold at the event, a tobacco retail licence must be acquired. The tobacco retail licence is always specific to the operator and point of sale.

Espoo region environmental health care services
09 816 23900 (weekdays from 8.30am to 12am)
More information

Temporary accommodation (14 days)

Temporary accommodation is possible, if the safety arrangements for accommodation have been implemented in accordance with the rescue authority’s instructions and the rescue authority for the area has approved the facility in question for use as temporary accommodation. The accommodation organiser must notify the rescue authority about the temporary accommodation at least 14 days before the intended temporary accommodation begins.

Länsi-Uusimaa Rescue Department/on-duty fire prevention officer
09 8162 6815 (weekdays from 9am to 11.30pm)

More information

Joint instructions of the City of Espoo, the Länsi-Uusimaa Rescue Department and the police for public event organisers (pdf, in Finnish)

Additional general information about safety by the City of Espoo