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Environmental permit to support the development of Helsinki Airport

Article published
21.1.2015 at 14:07
Air traffic control tower.
The Finnish Supreme Administrative Court has issued a final decision in the matter concerning the airport's environmental permit.

The environmental permit, now legally valid, supports Finavia's extensive development programme that is being implemented at Helsinki Airport. Finavia has proactively taken into consideration the provisions of the permit and constructed new anti-icing areas for airplanes, for example. They will enable more efficient control of runoff water.

The environmental permit covers the development of the airport and provides terms and conditions to reduce the environmental impact of the airport operations and air traffic.

“The decision issued by the Supreme Administrative Court provides a foundation for the Helsinki Airport development programme. Environmental considerations steer the design and construction of the extensions to the terminal, apron and taxiways,” says sustainable development director Mikko Viinikainen from Finavia.

The noise provisions require that the currently active noise control actions continue, the principles and limitations applied to runways are complied with, and noise levels are measured and regularly reported to authorities. A noise control plan must be prepared every three years.

The Supreme Administrative Court states in its decision that the Transport Safety Agency Trafi shall decide on limitations to night-time operations.

Considerable investments in water protection

During the last three years, Finavia has invested approximately EUR 40 million on the control of runoff water. The investments are aimed at protecting water bodies and complying with the terms and conditions of the permit.

In accordance with the environmental permit, 80 per cent of the propylene glycol used in airplane anti-icing treatment must be recovered for further processing. In 2015, a plan will be prepared for the recovery and processing of the rain and melt water in the airport area, and the need to improve the water discharge routes will be investigated.

Finavia has already provided the State Regional Administrative Agency with a survey concerning the improvement of the western fork of the small Kylmäoja river.

Permit process launched in 2007

The Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland issued a decision on the environmental permit in August 2011. The application process had started at the end of 2007. The Vaasa Administrative Court rejected most of the appeals against the decision in September 2012. The Supreme Administrative Court issued a final decision in January 2015 and rejected nearly all appeals filed based on the decision of Vaasa Administrative Court.

“We are relieved to find that the seven-year permit process is now finally completed and we can proceed with the airport development in accordance with the decision,” Viinikainen says.

An application for a review of the terms and conditions of the permit must be submitted to the State Regional Administrative Agency by the end of 2018.

Helsinki Airport development programme
Decision of the Supreme Administrative Court