Hassi rebuffed on Finnish climate controls

Minister fails to get new greenhouse gas curbs included in omnibus environment law

Finnish environment minister Satu Hassi failed to win government approval on Wednesday to include strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions in a new environment law expected to come into force next spring. New legislation to curb greenhouse emissions will now be delayed until the national climate change prevention strategy is drafted by a committee from various ministries. The new environmental protection act is largely being designed to combine existing legislation on water pollution, air pollution, noise, waste and environmental health into a single, comprehensive entity. The procedure for industry to apply for environmental permits will also be greatly simplified. Under the new draft, local authorities will be given powers to set higher environmental standards at a local level. Environmental organisations should also have greater powers to initiate legal proceedings and appeals under the new act. Although the new legislation is being hurried through Finland's parliament, it is not expected to be finalised until next March at the earliest. Since one purpose of the law is to transpose into national legislation the 1996 EU directive on integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC), the government acknowledges that Finland will miss the implementation deadline for the directive of the end of next month by at least five months.

Follow Up:
Finnish environment ministry, tel: +358 9 19911.

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