The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Michael Kidd, Loretta Feris, Tumai Murombo and Alejandro Iza
Chapter 10: Weighing of interests in the Finnish Water Law – from financial evaluation to normative weight of interests
The Finnish Water Act (referred to hereafter as Water Act) has been in force since the beginning of 2012 and is mostly based on the old Water Act of 1962. After the enactment of integrated pollution prevention in the Finnish Environmental Act, the Water Act has only regulated structural altering of water bodies, which covers all forms of water-related projects, excluding alteration of a water body through pollution. The requirement to apply for a water permit is based on a list of certain projects, which always have to have a permit regardless of the effect the project has on the environment or other interests protected by the Water Act. A permit is always required, for instance, for the closing or narrowing of a waterway used for transport, timber floating or the passage of fish, building of new hydro-power plants or groundwater abstraction-projects when the abstracted amount of water exceeds 250 m_ a day. The requirement to apply for a water permit can also be based on the effects a certain project has on the water-related interests protected by law. The criteria to apply for a permit are threefold: the project must be geographically identifiable (in land or water area), it must cause physical change in the water area, and it has to violate private or public interests listed.
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