New proposal supports wind energy in Finland

The government of Finland is proposing to simplify the permit procedures related to the construction of wind power plants by introducing changes to the Land Use and Building Act. According to the proposed change, municipalities could issue deviation decisions for constructing wind power plants in already constructed areas that have been designated industrial areas or harbours on a town or city plan.

According to estimates, the environmental impact of wind power plants would be lower in industrial and harbour areas than in unconstructed areas. However, the construction of a wind power plant should not conflict with the way an area is intended to be used according to a city or town plan.

The deviation procedure would concern a single wind power plant and would facilitate the construction of an industrial-sized wind power plant. According to the Land Use and Building Act, the deviation procedure cannot currently be applied to construction projects that would have a significant impact on an area.

If the change is accepted, the other conditions of deviation would remain the same. The deviation must not have a significant impact on the environment, hinder conservation of nature or the attainment of goals concerning the conservation of built environment or impede planning.

At the same time, the Land Use and Building Act is to be changed so that building permits could be issued to wind power plant construction projects in accordance with a master plan that governs wind power construction, even if the master plan has not yet been ratified due to pending appeals. However, construction itself could not be started until the master plan has been ratified. This would correspond to the current legislative procedure, where a construction permit can be issued based on a master plan that has not yet been ratified and an issued deviation decision.