Proposal to protect Malmi Airport to be evaluated by Ministry of the Environment

Seppo SipiläFor the press, For the press, News archive

Press release 19 July 2018
Friends of Malmi Airport

The proposal for protection of Malmi Airport (10/2015) has been submitted to the Ministry of the Environment for appraisal. The area, defined in 2009 as a Built Cultural Environment of National Significance (RKY) by the Ministry of the Environment and the National Board of Antiquities, has been proposed for protection based on the law concerning building heritage. The Council of State has confirmed the RKY designation.

The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) decided in June 2018 that it won’t order the area to be protected, even though the National Board of Antiquities has strongly suggested this. The decision was justified, amongst other things, by the City’s promise to protect the cultural environment in the detailed city plan. All the city’s plans and illustrations, however, depict the airport area filled with apartment houses in a way that destroys the cultural values.

A complaint has been filed against the ELY Centre’s decision

Friends of Malmi Airport (FoMA) has filed a complaint about the decision to the Ministry of the Environment. The Ministry will now evaluate the proposal once more. The complaint expresses several national and EU-level legal points that call for approving the protection proposal. The prohibition of endangerment issued by the ELY centre will remain in effect in the years to come, until a final decision is made.

FoMA is hopeful that a decision to protect the airport will be made.

Chairman of FoMA, Mr. Timo Hyvönen lists the facts: “We are talking about a unique built cultural environment on European and global scale. The airport, suggested as a Unesco site, is still in its original use. An EU-level agreement (Faro) has been signed by Finland and favors the protection of the aviation activity as well.”

City of Helsinki has planned housing for about 10.000 people in the airport area and additionally about 15.000 people in the areas around it. Hyvönen believes the plan will be dismissed.

“The matter has now been brooded on since the late 1960s. In the 1980s, deputy city manager Tuomioja described the area of Malmi Airport as the only remaining place suitable for building in Helsinki. After that, the City has still managed to grow by hundreds of thousands of people. The justification does not stand up to scrutiny, and Malmi seems to be more of a question of authority.”

Helsinki must not be left without comprehensive air connections

FoMA’s aim is to save the unique cultural site and also to have Helsinki allow aviation to continue at Malmi Airport.

“With electrical solutions, the ongoing change in aviation is very big indeed. Small aircraft already operate flexibly. Helsinki cannot turn its back on future aviation”, says Hyvönen. “The State is now making investments especially to aviation, and Helsinki must take its share of them.”

The airport won’t turn into housing in many years

Friends of Malmi Airport is also preparing a proposal for protecting the area based on natural values. In a survey of the Ministry of the Environment and the National Board of Antiquities, Malmi Airport received the most nominations to be proposed to the Unesco World Heritage list in Finland. The general plan of the area is currently under appeal in the Supreme Administrative Court.

“Getting to build housing in the area would take a long time. We hope that Helsinki joins in the development of the airport’s aviation activities, which is the will of an overwhelming majority of citizens.”

The present Government of Finland has offered City of Helsinki an exchange of lands for Malmi Airport, but the negotiations have not progressed.

“Developing Malmi as an airport is the most advantageous course of action also from the Finnish State’s point of view. By protecting the area Finland will gain a very special cultural site and save a load of taxpayers’ money, as there will be no need to build new airports. The matter will be a significant theme in the upcoming regional and municipal elections”, Mr. Hyvönen sums up.

FoMA present at SuomiAreena

Representatives of FoMA can be met at SuomiAreena on Thursday and Friday 19-20 July 2018 at booth 32B. Chairman Timo Hyvönen is present at FoMA’s booth on Thursday from 10am on, and can also be reached by phone.

FoMA’s complaint to the Ministry of the Environment (in Finnish) is available here.

More information

Timo Hyvönen, Chairman
Friends of Malmi Airport
Email: chair@malmiairport.fi
Phone: +358 50 3748371