Serious flaws in Helsinki's General Plan – Helsinki Administrative Court dismissed complaints concerning Malmi Airport

Seppo SipiläNews archive

Helsinki administrative court has made its decision about the complaints against Helsinki’s General Plan. The Administrative Court found serious flaws in the General Plan, which has been annulled in many areas.

The General Plan was accepted by Helsinki City Council after six hours of discussion on 26 October 2016. The lengthiest discussions concerned, among other things, the fate of Malmi Airport. The General Plan sets the scale of further planning, i.e., it orders detailed planning to be done with at least the building efficiency defined in the General Plan.

The Friends of Malmi Airport filed a complaint against the Plan in Helsinki Administrative Court, demanding the decision to accept the plan to be annulled on the grounds of being against the law at least where it concerns the area of Malmi Airport, and asking for a decree of staying the execution of the decision until the ruling over the complaint is final.

The Administrative Court has dismissed each complaint concerning Malmi Airport on different grounds.

In its decision, the Administrative Court has e.g. considered the aviation activities to have ended when Finavia gave up its operation at the airport at the end of 2017.

The Chairman of Friends of Malmi Airport, Mr. Timo Hyvönen, is baffled by this interpretation: “Malmi is now one of 60 private or municipal airports, and in 2017 it was still the second-busiest airport in Finland after Helsinki-Vantaa. Finavia operates only about 20 airports in Finland.”

On the subject of nature values, the Administrative Court admitted the limiting effects of threatened flora and fauna. Many of the environmental impact assessments made by the City were completed just before the General Plan was accepted, so they were not taken into account in formulating the plan.

The court’s decision states that environmental matters must be taken into account in more detailed planning. In practice this will prevent building in the airport area on the scale proposed in the General Plan.

The Friends of Malmi Airport are disappointed in the Administrative Court’s decision. Obvious contradictions with present legislation and other plans that have the force of law have been neglected.

“The City’s assessments and claims have been accepted as is, even though the complaint points out significant flaws in them. FoMA is now scrutinizing the Administrative Court’s decision and is likely to take the matter to higher instances”, says Mr. Hyvönen.

Even though the operation of Malmi Airport has been hampered administratively and technically for decades, it is still the second-busiest airport in Finland and an official point-of-entry airport. In 2017, 40.189 flight operations (ICAO) were logged, of which the majority is pilot training and aerial work. Even though hobby aviation only makes up 20-30% of the activity, it too is important in maintaining Finland’s pilot base as the volume of air traffic strongly grows.

A preservation application of the whole airport area, based on the Law on Building Heritage, is in process in the ELY Centre of Uusimaa, and the Lex Malmi law initiative about keeping Malmi Airport in aviation use is in Parliament. The Parliamentary Ombudsman is looking into the grounds on which it has been considered possible for state officials to alter the requirement of a substitutive airport filed in the Finnish Cabinet’s budgetary framework decision of 2014.

Original complaint (in Finnish)