Environmental supervision permits and notifications

Environmental protection acts, decrees and regulations oblige various operators to issue notifications, register their operations or apply for permits. Contact the Espoo Environment Department, if you need to apply for permits or notifications because all the forms are only in Finnish and/or in Swedish.

Some of the permits, notifications and related measures are subject to a charge. For more detailed information on permit and notification prices, please contact the Espoo Environment Department for protection authority’s fees and price list.

Cleaning of contaminated soil

The treatment of contaminated soil is subject to an environmental permit. Under certain conditions, however, measures can be taken to clean contaminated soil on site or to remove it for off-site cleaning by notifying the ELY Centre of the matter. The notification is to be submitted no later than 45 days prior to the start of the clean-up.

Construction detrimental to the environment

Façade construction works and other renovations on external stone or metal structures need to be reported to the Espoo Environment Department at least 14 days prior to the commencement of the work. Such a notification is not required for minor cleaning, repair or patching works performed on façades or other external building structures.

Environmental permit

An environmental permit is needed for activities causing risk of environmental contamination. Such activities are stipulated in the Environmental Protection Act.

Exceptional circumstances

If an accident, unforeseen malfunction, structure or device breakdown, or other such reason causes a discharge or results in waste that may cause serious and imminent damage to the environment, or which due to its quantity or characteristics require special waste management measures, the operator in charge of the activities or the waste must immediately notify the relevant supervisory authority of the matter.

Exemption from joining water supply plant’s water, sewage and/or stormwater system

According to the Act on Water Services (119/2001), a property located inside a water supply plant’s area of operation has to be connected to the water, sewage and stormwater system of the said plant. The Act seeks to ensure high-quality domestic water and adequate sewage and stormwater disposal in terms of health and environmental protection. The Espoo Environment Department may, based on an application, exempt a property from joining the water, sewage and stormwater system as provided for by Sections 10 and 17b of the Act on Water Services as per grounds specified in Sections 11 and 17c of the said Act.

Experimental activities

Experimental activities must be reported no later than 30 days in advance by submitting a notification to an approving authority with power to authorise such activity.

Extraction permit

Soil extraction for commercial purposes is subject to an extraction permit. The Land Extraction Act applies to stone, sand, clay or topsoil extracted to be transported from a site, stored on site or refined.

The permit under the Land Extraction Act is not required, if the extracted material is to be used for normal domestic purposes, or for agriculture and forestry. If the domestic use exceeds 500 solid cubic metres, the location and extent of the extraction site needs to be reported to the Espoo Environment Department.

Manure application outside permissible dates

Application of animal manure is prohibited between 1 November and 31 March. Exceptions from the timings are possible if fields are too wet to hold the weight of machinery due to exceptionally heavy autumn rains. In this case, the deadline for manure application is 30 November. Exceptions must be reported to the Espoo Environment Department by 30 October.

Manure windrows

Notification regarding the storage of manure and organic fertiliser products in windrows is filed by their recipient. Notifications for manure windrows in exceptional cases and for compost post-maturation are filed by the operator of the animal facility where the manure is produced. Manure windrow notifications must be submitted to the Espoo Environment Department at least 14 days before the windrow is set up.

Noise notification

Most temporary activities causing especially disturbing noise must be reported by filing a noise notification. The notification must be submitted 30 days prior to the commencement of such activity. The need for the notification depends on, for example, working hours, duration of the work, and the disturbance caused. For example, crushing works, motor sport events, long-term excavation and pile driving works, other particularly noisy construction and demolition works, as well as large outdoor concerts require a noise notification in addition to the standard information provided. Large public events, air shows, sightseeing flights and fireworks may also be subject to a noise notification.

Temporary works or events requiring a noise notification are described in more detail in Section 25 of the City of Espoo environmental protection regulations. If in doubt, contact the Environment Department in good time before. In its decision on the notification, the Environment Department will list the measures required for controlling the noise caused by the temporary works or the event.

Non-removal of a decommissioned oil or chemical tank

Decommissioned underground oil, fuel or chemical tanks must be cleaned and removed. The tank does not need to be removed, however, if it has been properly cleaned prior to 1 March 2005 and filled with sand or other approved material. Environmental authorities may in individual cases grant an exception from the obligation to remove an underground tank, if the removal is technically very difficult, or will result in damage to other property.

Notification regarding port operations

Ports whose activities are not subject to an environmental permit are entered in the environmental protection database. Notification regarding new port operations is to be made in good time before they are due to commence. The notification shall contain a waste management plan. In future, the port checks its waste management plan at least every three years and makes related entry in the environmental protection database.

Registration of middle-sized energy plants, asphalt mixing plants, liquid fuel distribution stations and dry cleaning laundries

If operations result in minor environmental impacts only, the environmental permit procedure is replaced by a registration entry in the environmental protection database and by monitoring. Such operations include most energy plants with a maximum fuel power of 50 MW, liquid fuel distribution stations and asphalt mixing plants. Notification of operations to be entered in the database must be submitted to the Espoo Environment Department at the latest 90 days before the commencement of the said operations.

Wastewater permit in sparsely populated areas

If a property is not connected to public sewage system, the owner or holder of the property must ensure that wastewaters are treated according to relevant requirements. Wastewater treatment is regulated by the Decree on Treating Wastewater in Areas Outside Sewer Networks (VNA 209/2011).

Old sewage systems must be updated to the level required by the Decree by 15 March 2018. Plans to enhance the operating efficiency of the existing sewage system or to replace the present system with a new one must be annexed to the permit application under the Decree (VNA 209/2011, Annex 2) and submitted to the Building Control Department for approval.

Waste recovery through ground deposits (municipality)

Waste disposal by burying it in the soil is prohibited. Under certain conditions, natural soil substances may, however, be replaced with concrete and brick wastes, for example, if reported to the Espoo Environment Department. Waste recovery must conform to Section 12 of the environmental protection regulations. The notification is to be submitted at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the work. If the recovery is considered institutional or professional by nature, it is subject to different procedures.

Waste utilisation in earth construction (ELY Centre)

Legislation seeks to promote recovery of waste in earth construction (VNA 843/2017, so-called MARA Decree). According to the Decree, certain wastes, for example concrete and ash wastes, can be recovered in earth construction without an environmental permission defined in the Environmental Protection Act. The use of such wastes is conditional and must be reported to the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) via a notification procedure. The Decree applies to recoveries exceeding 500 tonnes in weight.

Additional information regarding permits and notifications, more forms by the Ministry of the Environment and the Finnish Environment Institute.