Finland Response

Response from Finland

Response I
The main enactment in this matter is the Land Use and  Building Act (LUBA) with special provisions regarding large retail units as well.
The government bill (currently in the Parliament) will change some sections if accepted.
(The texts of the bill are not in English)

For more detailed information click Finland.

Erja Werdi
LL.Lic, Environmental law
Real Estate Research Group
Dept. of Surveying

Response II
The issue (question from France) is very topical in Finland, there is proposal (HE 309/2010) to amend our Land Use Planning and Building Act (totally new chapter 9 a, including four sections) at Parliament and political debate has been very lively. Unfortuntely the proposal can be found only in Finnish and Swedish (see here, use find).
At the moment the most important provisions are section 58 (subsections 3 and 4) and 114 of the LUBA (see below), which can be found in English from here: Unfortunately subsection 4, which is an amendment (476/2006) has not been yet translated. According to it also enlargement and altering of a retail unit is under same kind of rule.

Section 58
Legal consequences of the local detailed plan
Buildings may not be built in violation of the local detailed plan (building restriction). The local detailed plan shall be taken into account with regard to other measures altering the environment, as provided below.
Functions which hinder the use designated for other areas in the local detailed plan may not be located in the plan area. Moreover, functions which are in conflict with regulations issued in the local detailed plan concerning the prevention or restriction of harmful or disturbing environmental impacts may not be located in the local detailed plan area.
A large retail unit may not be located outside the area designated in the regional plan or the local master plan for central functions, unless the area is specifically designated for such a purpose in the local detailed plan. A large retail unit is defined in section 114.|

When the timing of the local detailed plan’s implementation so requires, the construction of a new building may be prohibited in the plan for a maximum of three years. When special cause exists, the local authority may extend the prohibition for a maximum period of three years at a time.

Section 114
Large retail units
In this Act, ‘large retail units’ refers to retail shops larger than 2,000 m2 in gross floor area.
The provisions of paragraph 1 do not, however, apply to trading in special goods that require a great deal of space.

Ari Ekroos; Professor, TKK (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland)
Environmental Law – Economic Law