Initiative filed to protect Malmi Airport and its fringes as a whole based on the Nature Conservation Act

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Meadow biotope of Malmi Airport, view from western edge towards the north, 18 September 2016 . Photo: Petri Asikainen.

The area of Malmi airport, with the woods at the fringes and the closely associated Longinoja brook are proposed to be protected under the Nature Conservation Act. The Uusimaa Centre of Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) has been asked to assess whether a nature reserve should be founded or if the area should otherwise be protected.

An initiative has also been filed to the ELY Centre about starting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure in the area of Malmi Airport regarding the construction plans of City of Helsinki. The environmental impact assessment must be done when a project causes significant negative effects on the environment. The EIA procedure also aims to improve everyone’s chance to be involved in and affect the planning of projects. According to the publicly presented construction plans of the area and given information, the environmental impacts of the construction projects are very significant, and have never been assessed as a whole.

Protection initiative based on City of Helsinki’s official surveys

Based on the extensive surveys of City of Helsinki, this rare traditional meadow biotope is the habitat, transit area or resting place for several protected species. The ecosystem has evolved during 80 years of aviation activity at the airport, as the meadow has been regularly mowed to ensure aviation safety. The extensive drainage system under the runways is very significant to the moisture balance of the meadow, requiring that its continued integrity is taken into account when defining the limits of the area to be protected.

Strong grounds exists for protecting the area as meant in the Nature Conservation Act and Nature Conservation Statute. Threatened and declining species live in the area, and it is a rare biotope. In the area there are breeding and resting grounds of species listed in Appendix IV(a) of the EU Nature Directive as requiring tight protection. Malmi Airport is representative and invaluable, and due to its special natural beauty it is an important place for recreation to the citizens. Protecting it can be deemed necessary from the point of view of both its biodiversity and preserving its beauty.

The initiative calls for a thorough investigation of the area and the definition of limits for areas to be protected, and a prohibition of endangerment is proposed for the duration.

The protection initiative has been filed by Friends of Malmi Airport Association. FoMA will also ask for statements from all political parties represented in City Council and their national-level organizations.

The area proposed for investigation and definition of protected area limits (center, the same area as is defined in Malmi Airport’s designation as a Built Cultural Environment of National Significance, RKY 2009).

The protection initiative based on the Nature Conservation Act (in Finnish):

http://www.malmiairport.fi/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/malmi_suojelu_luonto2019_netti.pdf

The initiative to start the EIA procedure (in Finnish):

http://www.malmiairport.fi/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/YVA_malmi2019-1.pdf

References

[KULLBERG] Jaakko Kullberg: Lepidotera survey of Malmi Airport 2015-2017 (in Finnish).
[FAUNATICA] Kari Nupponen: Assessments of notable Lepidoptera species in Helsinki-Malmi Airport in 2017 (in Finnish), Faunatica 39:2017.
[ELLERMAA] Margus Ellermaa: Important bird areas and significant birdlife in Helsinki in 2017 (in Finnish). City of Helsinki, Urban Environment publications 2018:8.
[LAMMI] Esa Lammi and Pekka Routasuo: Flying Squirrel assessment of Helsinki in 2016 (in Finnish). City of Helsinki Environment Centre publications 7/2016.
[ASIKAINEN] Petri Asikainen: Bat survey of Malmi Airport 2015–2017, preliminary report (in Finnish).
[RASSI] Pertti Rassi et al.: Endangeredness of Finland’s Species, Red Book 2010 (in Finnish), p. 339.
[NATURA] Uusimaa ELY Centre: Natura 2000 areas in Finland: Vantaa river (in Finnish).

Other references

Nature Conservation Statute: Appendix of threatened and particularly protected species (2013, in Finnish).
Ministry of the Environment: Presentations of species in the European Union Nature Directive Appendix IV (excl. bats) (2017, in Finnish).