1.2 Basic principles

The spatial planning system in Finland, described here, consists of the actual (physical) land use planning system as a core focus of this description, but also of other development planning mechanisms at national, regional and local levels of government that have direct spatial implications. These include e.g. sectoral policies for transport, environment and energy.

Public activity planning used to have an explicit statutory binding towards land use planning from the end of 1960īs until 1994 (until the new Local Government Act came to force in 17.3.1995). Afterwards this relationship is not legally formulated, and the former state subsidy-bound system of statutory municipal planning was substituted by a variety of local, more flexible applications and other kind of integrative tools, like cross-sectional strategies and programmes.

The Land Use and Building Act (came into force 1.1.2000) defines the statutory land use planning system in Finland. It covers also the general building regulation. It is a general act of planning the use of environment, but it does not cover all the uses of environment.

Within the state division of the spatial planning system the Parliament of Finland is the highest supreme authority. However, in practice Ministry of Environment is the highest supervising authority in spatial planning, and in charge of national level issues in environmental policy, environmental protection, land use, housing and building. The Ministry prepares spatial planning legislation.

Ministry of Interior is responsible for e.g. the issues of regional development, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for e.g. rural development, surveying and water resources, Ministry of Trade and Industry for e.g. energy issues and Ministry of Transport and Communications for transport and communication network issues.