Environment

Environmental law, along with land use and construction, are areas in which HPP is the leading provider of legal services in Finland. HPP has one of the largest dedicated environmental teams in Finland which specialises in all aspects of the environmental and construction sectors. Over several decades, we have developed innovative solutions to our clients’ environmental issues.

We have a deep understanding of the sector and our clients’ fields of operation, business and processes. Consequently, we represent clients from industrial and commercial property clients to public entities and trade organisations. Our clients include leading operators in the forestry, metal, chemicals, energy, food, waste management, logistics and mining sectors.

Typically, we assist our clients from the very beginning, starting with the planning stage of a project. We continuously keep track of legislation central to our clients’ interests including assisting them with monitoring their interests at the legislation drafting stage.

HPP has also assisted Finnish government departments and legislators in emerging economies with the drafting of their environmental law regime. In M&A, real estate and finance transactions, where environmental aspects and additional investments are of central importance, HPP is well-placed to assess and assign value judgment to risks and provide solutions taking environmental law issues into consideration.

Expertise

  • Environmental protection

    Environmental permits include permit regulations affecting the economy of the operations by including provisions on, for example, minimising the impact on nature, monitoring and post-operations maintenance of the relevant areas. Environmental permit procedures also involve the preparation of permit regulations using the best available techniques at a certain point in time. Frequently, parties have different views of the nature and quantity of collateral security arrangements required for an environmental permit, too. HPP advises industry and business operators on applying for environmental permits and represents clients with regard to any subsequent applications for judicial review in administrative courts. We assist in several dozens of environmental permit applications annually.

  • Natural resources and water

    Our environmental group also deals with issues arising from the application of natural resources and water law. Water and groundwater withdrawal and extraction of earth material require water resources management and earth-material extraction permits. We provide assistance to industrial operators, water supply facilities and those engaged in excavation work in applying for these permits. Other water resources management projects (hydraulic construction, drainage, regulation, ditch drainage) and hydropower-related permits, expropriation and compensation are also among HPP’s environmental group competence. Any restrictions concerning the protection of forest resources should be considered prior to felling, and our specialists provide assistance with regard to determining the obligations concerning different areas.

  • Environmental impact assessment

    Environmental impact assessment is a weighty factor in the largest industrial, excavation, energy, mining and infrastructure projects. Our experience includes advising on the majority of the most significant projects implemented in Finland.

  • Environmental liabilities

    Environmental liabilities is an area in which HPP has comprehensive experience and expertise on all procedures related to contamination and any negotiation for a settlement under public, as well as civil law. Our experts are experienced in providing advice with regard to different types of projects related to land area use, real property development and infrastructure, in which the obligations concerning species protection and Natura areas need to be reconciled with the aims of the project. HPP has also assisted Finnish government departments and legislators in developing economies in the drafting of environmental law policies and regimes.

    In M&A and other transactions in which environmental aspects and additional investments are of vital importance, HPP is well-placed to assess and assign value judgment to risks and provide solutions that take these issues into consideration with respect to the arrangements. We have vast experience in environmental liabilities and permit obligations in bankruptcy and insolvency situations, among others. We also provide advice to lenders and investors with respect to potential lender liability. HPP also assists clients in significant criminal environmental matters.

  • Chemical legislation

    HPP provides legal services for the comprehensive management of legislative obligations relating to chemicals. We continuously follow the rapidly developing European chemical legislation and offer our clients updates and compliance programmes. Our services include, for example, conducting a survey of the obligations and the necessary registrations and notifications and also the management of information exchange and cooperative arrangements. In addition, we assist clients with matters involving chemicals supervision, candidate listings, permit procedures and complaint processes. HPP also provides assistance with respect to issues regarding classification, labelling and packaging and with respect to the special obligations regarding biocides. In addition, we advise our clients on permit and zoning issues regarding chemical safety (concerning the obligations under the SEVESO II Directive, among others).

  • Environmental crimes

    The authorities continue to focus increasing attention on the penal liability of companies and executives in environmental matters. The responsibility may be associated with, for example, exceeding the emission limit values provided in an environmental permit, contaminating the environment or environmental crimes. HPP continuously assists clients in significant environmental crime matters.

  • Environmental liabilities in insolvency situations

    Environmental liabilities play an important role in the event of insolvency of an entity which is obliged to obtain an environmental permit or otherwise engaged in an activity that has an environmental impact. HPP has ample experience in environmental liabilities and permit obligations in bankruptcy and insolvency situations, among others. We also provide counsel to lenders and investors with respect to lender liability issues.

  • Environmental liabilities in transactions

    Environmental liability issues, such as those pertaining to soil or ground water decontamination or the compliance with and distribution of environmental permit obligation, often become relevant in connection with corporate acquisitions and other transactions. Our experts assess the potential for expansion and the environmental obligations arising from investments, ensuring that the added value sought by the arrangement may be achieved. HPP also has significant experience in assessing the environmental aspects of outsourcing arrangements and providing suitable solutions to them. As part of the due diligence carried out in connection with transactions, we also carry out a legal environmental due diligence review where needed. Clients frequently choose HPP as their counsel when the acquisition or other transaction involves significant environmental aspects.

  • Nature conservation

    Nature protection and connected legislation is becoming increasingly important and already applies to a large portion of infrastructure projects and also part of real property development projects. HPP has successfully assisted clients in implementing projects involving the most demanding environmental aspects.

  • Nature conservation and EU law

    HPP continuously keeps track of the development of nature conservation law within the EU. We have acted on several matters involving EU aspects, including complaints to and responses to complaints to the European Commission and also trials at EU courts.

  • Soil / ground water / sediment / structures

    Activities that have an environmental impact are frequently accompanied by a risk of soil, ground water, sediment or structures contamination. Where contamination has occurred, in many cases decontamination obligations become relevant either by operation of public law, tort or contract law. HPP has comprehensive experience and expertise in all procedures related to contamination and negotiation for a settlement under public, as well as civil law. Contamination and decontamination related matters also frequently require an environmental science- or technology-based understanding of decontamination techniques and contamination – which our specialists have gained through their considerable practical experience.

  • Species protection and natura 2000

    Species protection as part of environmental protection legislation refers to protection pursuant to the Birds Directive and Habitats Directive under EU law, and also to protection of protected and threatened species, as well as those under special protection, pursuant to nature conservation legislation. The Natura 2000 network, which is based on EU law, may have a significant impact on projects to be implemented in the vicinity of areas belonging to the network. Our environment team is experienced in providing advice with regard to different types of projects related to land area use, real property development and infrastructure in which the obligations concerning species protection and Natura areas need to be reconciled with the project.

  • Waste management and recycling

    Waste regulation impacts on the majority of economic and industrial operations. HPP acts on numerous waste-connected matters and transactions every year. Having worked with a number of industry leaders on a long-term basis, we possess significant knowledge of the operating environment in the waste sector.

    We also have expertise in competition law issues connected with waste sector as well as procurement legislation and obligations ancillary to state support. In particular, we have provided services to municipal waste companies and also to the packaging and metal recycling industries.

  • Competition and procurement

    Municipally handled waste management is characterised by specific competition and procurement related issues. HPP has a good understanding of the waste management market and assists clients regularly in issues regarding competition within the sector as well as in procurement procedures.

  • Landfills

    Placing waste in a landfill involves various legal issues, starting with the establishment of a landfill, followed by the placement of waste in the landfill, landfill technology, using the landfill, and finally, closing the landfill and conducting post-operation follow-up. Waste to be placed in a landfill must fulfil certain conditions of eligibility, both general and those set in the landfill’s environmental permit. Landfill construction contracts require the ability to manage the particular characteristics of the trade. HPP has extensive experience in handling different landfill-related assignments, which in addition to legal expertise also require an understanding of landfill technology. We assist clients in all legal issues concerning landfills and final disposal.

  • Mineral waste

    HPP specialises in legal issues related to mineral waste arising from extractive industry activities (in particular the mining industry) and the placement of such waste. We serve representatives of the extractive and excavation industries and the waste sector in all issues pertaining to mineral waste and drafting waste management plans for such waste.

  • Producer responsibility

    Producer responsibility is a mandatory obligation provided by law requiring manufacturers and importers of certain products (including packaging, paper, tyres, cars, batteries and electronic appliances) to arrange the waste management of their products at their own cost after the products are no longer used. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Restriction on the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in EEE (RoHS) Directive impose substantial legal obligations on the handlers and manufacturers of electric and electronic appliances. HPP advises clients on all WEEE-related issues. We are key participants in legal processes pertaining to the interpretation of producer responsibility legislation and in the development of said legislation.

  • Recycling

    HPP advises on matters related to the recycling-sector operating environment and its special interests on an ongoing basis. We serve clients in the recycling sector on a range of issues, handling assignments pertaining to waste, chemicals, points of service, and waste transfers, among others. We have also handled zoning and environmental permit matters relating to industrial sector facilities.

  • Waste and by-products

    In addition to EU law, defining boundaries between what constitutes and what does not constitute waste has emerged as one of the most central legal issues relating to waste management and the industrial sector. The classification has a significant impact on the environmental obligations that apply to these activities. HPP has a broad experience in matters concerning waste, by-products and hazardous waste (dangerous waste) and in monitoring the interests of our clients.

  • Waste tax

    Waste tax is levied primarily on waste to be placed in public landfills. However, industrial waste management in particular is subject to numerous exceptions. HPP assists clients in all legal issues arising from waste management, and has also represented different industry players in supervising their interests with regard to waste tax and in legal proceedings. We also provide assistance with regard to issues related to other steering mechanisms concerning environmental economics, such as beverage packaging tax, municipal waste fees and oil waste fees.