Environment and nature
For a city of its size, Espoo is exceptionally green. Forests occupy nearly 60 per cent, or 18,700 hectares, of its land mass and are enlivened with bare cliffs and marshes. Protected forests and marshes amount to some 3,200 hectares, including the Nuuksio National Park. There are 82 nature conservation areas in total. Southern Espoo is characterised by the sea with its varied coastline and archipelago. There is also a wide range of inland waters: in addition to lakes and rivers, Espoo encompasses a number of streams and springs. Green areas and parks combine historical value with functionality and great scenery, expanding from the seashore to inner city oases.
Nature House Villa Elfvik hosts excursions and events, and showcases the nature in Espoo by organising both permanent and temporary exhibitions focusing on different environmental and nature-related topics. Villa Elfvik also serves as a nature school. The provision of permits controlling environmental loads, the supervision thereof and the planning, construction and maintenance of parks and green areas form an important part of nature and environmental protection.
Espoo Environment Department is the authority responsible for environmental protection and monitoring, but many other Espoo municipal units and offices also partake in the work. Environmental Health Services monitors interior noise, domestic and bathing waters, and chemicals. It is also responsible for veterinary care, protection of animals and food control. Public Works Department sees to the maintenance of parks and other green areas, and to invasive species prevention and related reports.
Environmental issues in Espoo are governed by the Environment Committee consisting of elected officials. Matters related to parks and green areas are decided upon by the Technical Services Committee consisting of elected officials. Both committees meet about once a month.