Air pollution - National Responses (Finland)
- Air pollution
In general, Finland’s air pollution control policies aim to maintain high air quality in order to preserve healthy and pleasant residential environments and viable natural ecosystems (Air pollution control). It seems that the traditional gaseous emissions are not the main problem in the future, but the (fine) particles will remain a concern. The different factors connected to the climate change will affect the air quality. How climate change will affect the air pollution situation is being studied.
Many of the national policies and activities strive to reduce emissions of air pollutants and thus indirectly affect air quality. Finland's national Air Pollution Control Programme 2010 transposes the National Emission Ceilings Directive (Finland's National Air Pollution Control Programme 2010)
National Climate and Energy Strategy (Long-Term Climate and Energy Strategy, Strategy 2008) presents new climate and energy policy measures aiming, e.g., to stop or limit the increase in the final energy consumption and electricity consumption. This is closely connected to climate change mitigation.
Transport is one of the driving forces having a direct effect on air quality. In Finland, no road-user charging systems or congestion charges are in use. Different solutions have been studied, however, and a recent study examined different methods and their impacts in the Helsinki region (Study on introduction of congestion charges). The wintertime sanding of streets and roads to avoid skidding is one of the reasons for elevated particulate concentrations in spring in urban areas. The municipalities keep on developing more effective methods to collect the sand and clean the streets to curb the negative effects of the sanding.
The Helsinki Metropolitan area has a new transport system plan that extends to 2030 (Helsinki Metropolitan Area Transport System Plan 2007). Regarding air pollution, the plan sets two targets: health hazards caused by emissions as well as CO2 emissions per inhabitant must remain at current level.
The first national transport policy with an integrated environmental aspect was prepared in the beginning of the 1990s. From an air pollution point of view, both the existing transport policy (Liikenteen toimintalinjat ympäristökysymyksissä vuoteen 2010) and the proposal for a new Finnish transport policy framework (Transport 2030) address the quality of the local environment and climate change.