FI-6:National Environmental Protection Act

Policy Description

The National Environmental Protection Act transposes the EU-wide Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive into Finnish law. It determines the appropriate controls for industry to protect the environment through a permitting process and includies control levels on energy use and CO2 emissions. To obtain a permit, industrial operators will have to show that they have systematically developed proposals to apply the "Best Available Techniques" (BAT) laid out in EU Guidance documents known as BREFs.


The National Environmental Protection Act transposes the EU-wide Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive into Finnish law. The initial IPPC Directive (96/61/EC of 24 September 1996) and the 2008 and 2010 amendments (2008/1/EC and 2010/75/EU) provide a regulatory basis for improving the energy efficiency of most of the energy intensive sectors of industry [1]. The IPPC determines the appropriate controls for industry to protect the environment through a single permitting process, including control levels on energy use and CO2 emissions.

To obtain a permit, operators will have to show that they have systematically developed proposals to apply the "Best Available Techniques" (BAT) and meet certain other requirements, taking account of relevant local factors [2]. Guidance for Best Available Techniques are laid down in Guidance documents known as BREFs (*1).
The process for establishing a BREF is coordinated by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) of the EU, which collects input from all relevant stakeholders.

The BREFs cover the use of energy and emissions of CO2, as well as other emissions to air, emissions to water or the production of other forms of waste. This means that national and local environmental regulators can include obligations regarding energy efficiency and CO2 in the permit.
The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) monitors and reports on the development of the best available techniques in Finland, acting as the National Focal Point for BAT information exchange between environmental authorities and industry [3] .

The IPPC Directive was transposed in Finland as part of the National Environmental Protection Act 86/2000 and Decree 169/2000. Those industrial activities e.g. chemical, cement, etc.  requiring environmental permitting are listed in the environmental protection Decree 169/2000 [3]

A company’s accession to the energy efficiency agreement between professional organizations and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy (2008–2016) is allowed as a means to comply with IPPC permit requirements laid out in the National Environmental Protection Act [4].

In December 2010, the new IPPC Directive 2010/75/EU was published in the Official Journal. It recasts the old 2008/1/EC IPPC Directive and six other directives(*2) in a single directive on industrial emissions and requires transposition into Finnish law no later than 6 January 2013.  However, as of August 2013, the transposition had not yet occurred [6].

Policy Information Expand this section for information on the key features of the policy, such as its date of introduction, categorization, main objective(s) and linkages with other policies.

Policy Categorisation

Policy Instrument Type: Administrative

Position in the Pyramid

About Us

Participation: Mandatory


Start Date: 2000

Policy Linkages

Complements EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) Effort Defining

Agencies Responsible

Ministry of the Environment

Primary Objective: Other (environmental)


Promote the use of "Best Available Techniques (BAT)" in, among others, the field of energy efficiency in various industry sectors.

Target Group

Energy industries, production and processing of metals, mineral industry, chemical industry, waste management, and other activities (All activities covered by Directive 2008/1/EC)

Driver of energy consumption or emissions affected by policy: Energy efficiency, technology implementation

Implementation Information Expand this section for information on targets, monitoring, verification and enforcement regimes, and implementation requirements and tools.


Quantitative Target? no

Progress Monitored? yes

Verification Required? yes

Enforced? yes

Sanctions: Revoking the permit (section 59 of the Environmental Protection Act) / suspending operations (section 86 of the Act)

Requirements on the Target Group

The target group needs to show that it complies with the energy efficiency requirements in the environmental permit.
The procedures for obtaining a permit, as described in article 6 of Directive 2008/01/EC, are as follows:

All permit applications must be sent to the competent authority of the Member State concerned, which will then decide whether or not to authorise the activity. Applications must include information on the following points:

  • a description of the installation and the nature and scale of its activities as well as its site conditions;
  • the materials, substances and energy used or generated;
  • the sources of emissions from the installation, and the nature and quantities of foreseeable emissions into each medium, as well as their effects on the environment;
  • the proposed technology and other techniques for preventing or reducing emissions from the installation;
  • measures for the prevention and recovery of waste;
  • measures planned to monitor emissions;
  • possible alternative solutions.

Support by Government

Accession to the Energy Efficiency Agreements (see FI-1) automatically grants compliance with National Environmental Protection Act permitting requirements.

Implementation Toolbox

Guidance documents on Best Available Techniques (BAT). These documents are published on the website of IPTS and used by authorities in there permit procedures:

Complexity of Implementation


The government needs to pay close attention in formulation the requirements; otherwise this can lead to problems regarding enforceability of the permits

Impacts, Costs & Benefits Expand this section to find information on policy effectiveness and efficiency.

Impact Quantitative Estimate Qualitative Estimate
Estimated effect on energy consumption or emissions N/A N/A
Estimated costs/benefits for industry N/A N/A
Estimated cost for government N/A N/A

References & Footnotes


[1] MURE II Database on Energy Efficiency Policies and Measures (Industry). Available from:

[2] European IPPC Bureau (2012). Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS).

[3] Finnish Environmental Institute (SYKE) (2012). Available from: Information retrieved on September 2012.

[4] Government of Finland (2010). Finish II National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP 2008-2010)

[5] European Commission (2012). Summaries of EU legislation. Available from: (information retrieved in November 2012)

[6] European Commission (2013). The Industrial Emissions Directive. Available at


(*1) BREFs are the main reference documents used by competent authorities in Member States when issuing operating permits for the installations that represent a significant pollution potential in Europe [3]. An updated list of reference documents can be found at:

(*2) Directive 2010/75/EU replaces the following directives [5] with effect from 7 January 2014: • Directive 78/176/EEC on titanium dioxide industrial waste; • Directive 82/883/EEC on the surveillance and monitoring of titanium dioxide waste; • Directive 92/112/EEC on the reduction of titanium dioxide industrial waste; • Directive 1999/13/EC on reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs); • Directive 2000/76/EC on waste incineration; • Directive 2008/1/EC concerning integrated pollution prevention and control; with effect from 1er January 2016: Directive 2001/80/EC on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants from large combustion plants