The statutory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure ascertains the direct and indirect environmental impacts in transmission line projects of at least 220 kilovolts and over 15 kilometres in length. The procedure deals with the various options of the project and the impacts on issues such as:
- human health, living conditions and living environment
- soil, water, air, climate, flora, fauna and biodiversity
- community structure, buildings, landscape, townscape and cultural heritage
- utilisation of natural resources, and
- their mutual interaction.
Stages of the EIA procedure
The EIA procedure starts with the compilation of an assessment programme. It is a survey of the current status of the project area and a work plan of which alternative transmission line routes will be studied and how the environmental impacts will be assessed. The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY centre), which acts as the co-ordination authority, announces the availability of the assessment programme for public viewing in the municipalities of the project area. During the public viewing, comments can be presented to the co-ordination authority. The project is also introduced in public meetings. After the public viewing, the co-ordination authority compiles the comments and authority statements on the programme and gives its own statement on their basis to Fingrid for the drawing up of the assessment report.
The results of the environmental impact assessment work are compiled into an assessment report, which focuses on the comparison of project options and assessment of feasibility. Similar to the assessment programme stage, the co-ordination authority puts the assessment report on public display and compiles the comments and statements given of it. The assessment procedure concludes with a statement on the assessment report by the co-ordination authority. The EIA procedure usually takes one year to a year and a half.
Decision making after the EIA
The EIA procedure is not a permit procedure. Information on environmental impacts generated during the procedure is included in decision making, when Fingrid, later responsible for the project, selects the transmission line route to be taken for further planning.
The selection of the transmission line route is followed by terrain inspections and general planning. Terrain inspections require a research permit from the National Land Survey of Finland. A project permit in accordance with the Electricity Market Act is applied for from the Energy Authority, as well as an expropriation permit from the Finnish Government once the general planning is complete. The EIA report and the statement on it by the co-ordination authority are attached to both permit applications.
More information on the EIA procedure can be found on the website of the state environmental administration. There is a quick link to the website on the right side of this page under Further information. More information on Fingrid's projects at the EIA stage is available on this website in the section Current projects.
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