The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for managing, monitoring and coordinating the environmental administration's preparedness for special situations in both normal and emergency conditions. Preparedness ensures minimum disruption of the performance of functions in all situations.The Security Strategy for Society (Government resolution of 16.12.2010) lays the groundwork for the Ministry of the Environment's preparedness. The security strategy defines the environmental administration's essential tasks in special situations, in both normal and emergency conditions.

Special situations

Special situations significant to the Ministry of the Environment include for example the following:

  • extensive pollution of land and waters
  • land, sea or air traffic accident
  • accident involving dangerous substances
  • serious animal or plant disease epidemic
  • mass death of organisms
  • disruption in water services (incl. waste water management)
  • disruption in waste managementOffshore oil accidents are the most significant special situation for which the Ministry of the Environment is responsible. The ministry has published a report on the organisation of response to a major oil accident caused by a vessel. 

Emergency conditions and the Emergency Powers Act

Authorities must ensure that they will also be able to carry out their functions with minimum disruption in emergency conditions. Emergency conditions include those referred to in the Emergency Powers Act, such as particularly severe major accidents. The Emergency Powers Act lays down provisions on the power of authorities in emergency conditions.

Preparedness organisation

The Ministry of the Environment has a standing group, led by the ministry's Head of Preparedness. The standing group coordinates the planning of preparedness at the ministry.

The ministry maintains an emergency standby duty for special situations. In case of serious emergencies, the ministry sets up a crisis group to respond to the situation.

The Finnish Environment Institute SYKE maintains a 24-hour standby duty for environmental incidents, for providing urgent measures required for the prevention of oil and chemical spills and for other environmental emergencies. The standby duty telephone number is only intended for communications between authorities. The standby duty may be contacted through emergency response centres and maritime safety centres.

Further information

Teppo Lehtinen, Head of Preparedness,

Published 2013-05-14 at 16:05, updated 2019-03-29 at 13:12