The matter of protecting Malmi Airport returned to the Ministry of the Environment

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Heritage Finland now calls for direct protection order

Friends of Malmi Airport (FoMA) has filed a complaint concerning the Uusimaa ELY Centre’s new decision in the matter of protecting Malmi Airport. The ELY Centre didn’t adhere at all to the Ministry of the Environment’s decision to return the matter to the ELY Centre for new processing, but only fine-tuned its justifications, leaving its previous decision practically untouched.
 
The Ministry of the Environment had overturned the Uusimaa ELY Centre’s decision from 7 June 2018 as it was based on the wrong law. The Ministry of the Environment considers it shown that Malmi Airport is of national significance in the sense of the Act on the Protection of Built Heritage. If even one of the criteria given in that Act’s Article 2.3 is fulfilled, the Act must be applied.

Friends of Malmi Airport Association calls for a new overturning of the ELY Centre’s erroneous decision, orders the matter to be processed anew with the application of the correct law and makes an inquiry into the rapporteurs’ incompetency due to the likelihood of bias.

“We now demand that new process weighs the national-level qualifications for protection against the reasons opposing protection, applying the correct law”, says Chairman of the Association, Mr. Timo Hyvönen.

“It is obvious that the political pressure is strong. The officials must nevertheless be able to act objectively and apply the correct laws. This is the basis of the whole Finnish society and way of life.”

A Prohibition of Endangerment is in effect at Malmi Airport, and will remain so until the decision concerning protection becomes legal.

The situation has changed – the Faro Convention has not been taken into account

The Council of Europe Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (the Faro Convention) came into effect in Finland on 1 September 2018. Its Article 9 concerns the sustainable use of cultural heritage. The ELY Centre should have taken this into account in its new decision. Thus the concerned parties, at lease the Friends of Malmi Airport Association and Heritage Finland, should have been given a chance to be heard about the significance of this Convention in the matter at hand. The ELY Centre has not organized a new hearing, which is wrong in the changed situation.

Heritage Finland calls for a protection order from the Ministry of the Environment

Heritage Finland has also filed a complaint against the ELY Centre’s decision. In its statement on 1 November 2018, Heritage Finland made a realistic assessment of the situation: “The City Plan’s goal to fill the airport with blocks of housing will destroy a historically and architecturally unique monument, even if a couple of buildings are spared and the runway used in aligning streets.”

In its new decision, the ELY Centre has not taken into account Heritage Finland’s statement in any way in its justifications. The processing seems inadequate in every way.

Heritage Finland now calls for the Ministry of the Environment to issue for Malmi Airport a protection order fulfilling its requirements without returning the matter to the ELY Centre. Heritage Finland is the State’s highest expert bureau in matters of built heritage.

Public statements from officials may signify incompetency based on the likelyhood of bias

A strong prejudice is evident in the Uusimaa ELY Centre’s decision dated 26 June 2019 as well as in public statements of its representatives before that, raising doubt about the neutrality of those in charge of processing the matter. For this reason, FoMA suggests moving the matter to another ELY Centre for further processing.

Public support to keep Malmi Airport is growing, thousands of new supporters found at Ed Sheeran’s concert

Chairman Hyvönen sums up the situation in general.

“The continuously growing support of the citizens to our cause and the unbelievably rapid development of electric aviation support the protection of the airport’s cultural heritage and continued aviation activities. The nature values that have emerged are likely to prevent housing construction, and the uncertanties concerning the soil complicate it.”

The airport has for years been used as a venue of various events in addition to aviation, and the potential for its diverse use is great.

“Ed Sheeran’s concert last week was a good example of the versatility and possibilities of the airfield. City of Helsinki can develop it into a true aviation and events center, and fund the activities with events like this. The pending municipal and national initiatives found thousands of new supporters in Sheeran’s concert. The politicians would be wise to look into the matter, listen to the citizens and make the right decisions.”

More information:

Friends of Malmi Airport Association

Chairman Timo Hyvönen
tel. 050-3748371
chair@malmiairport.fi

A municipal initiative calling for a referendum about Malmi Airport’s future is in motion. Already now it is the biggest municipal initiative of all time in Finland. A national-level initiative for protecting the nature values of the airport has collected more than 5000 signatures in a matter of days. In addition, a proposal to protect the area based on the Nature Conservation Act has been filed.

Links

FoMA’s complaint (in Finnish): https://www.malmiairport.fi/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Valitus-päätöksestä-UUDELY_6622_2015-Malmin-lentoaseman-ystävät-ry.pdf 
Municipal initiative calling for a referendum (in Finnish): https://www.kuntalaisaloite.fi/fi/aloite/6466
National Initiative calling for a nature reserve (in Finnish): https://www.kansalaisaloite.fi/fi/aloite/4903
Protection proposal based on the Nature Conservation Act):  https://www.malmiairport.fi/en/initiative-filed-to-protect-malmi-airport-and-its-fringes-as-a-whole-based-on-the-nature-conservation-act/