YLE: The NBA wants aviation to continue at Malmi

Oct 12, 2017

The Finnish public service broadcasting company YLE reports on 12 October 2017 on the National Board of Antiquities’ new statement that Malmi Airport should be protected in its entirety.  Read the article (in Finnish).

English translation:

The National Board of Antiquities wants the aviation to continue in Malmi – the ELY Centre decides independently, though

According to the National Board of Antiquities, in addition to the main buildings of Malmi Airport, the airfield as a whole should be protected. The gigantic residential building project of the City of Helsinki would be cropped down.

In its statement to the Uusimaa ELY Centre, the National Board of Antiquities says that the best solution for maintaining the “international and national values” of Malmi Airport would be to continue the aviation activities there. This would entail, in addition to protecting the main airport buildings, the protection of the airfield itself.

Mikko Härö, Head of Department of Cultural Environment Services at the National Board of Antiquities, says that Malmi Airport is no longer an airport if the aviation is lost:

– It is about relationships between buildings and activities. The whole of Malmi Airport is cultural heritage. It is not just about keeping the terminal and the hangar in any other use, it’s about maintaining the historical continuity and culture.

According to Härö, the absolute minimum level of protection would be that aviation would still be possible at Malmi Airport.

– If alternatives are found so that the edges of the area can be constructed or used differently, it’s ok as long as the prerequisites of aviation and the current use of the airfield are maintained.

A big city district and an operating airport can not fit on the same patch of land

At the end of last year, the State withdrew its operations from Malmi Airport. After Finavia ceased to be the airport operator, its activities have been continued by the Malmi Airfield Association.

The City of Helsinki has planned a new district of 25,000 inhabitants to the area. If the construction plans were to be implemented to this extent, aviation activities could not be continued. The citizens’ association to promote aviation activities has sought to limit the building plans through, among other things, a citizens’ law initiative and a protection initiative.

The decision on the extent of the protection of the buildings or the area will be made by the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY).

The Act on the Protection of Built Heritage can be applied in the district planning area if the object has national significance. Another reason may be that the protection of the site can not be secured by the Land Use and Building Act. The third argument is that there are special reasons for the protection of the site because of the zoning situation.

According to the National Board of Antiquities, all these conditions are met in the case of Malmi Airport. Mikko Härö says that it is self-evident that this is a site of national significance.

– It is definitely the kind of zoning situation that jurists will bounce around among themselves. Can it be said that the City does not sufficiently take into account the cultural-historical values ​​in the planning process? The plan can be changed so that the airfield can be retained.

“Whatever protection decision is made, it will be appealed”

Aimo Huhdanmäki, Head of the Built Environment Management Unit at the Uusimaa ELY Centre, says that the last statements on the matter are currently expected. The City of Helsinki has been granted an extension for giving its statement.

– It is likely that the decision will be made before the end of this year.

Huhdanmäki says that the opinion of the National Board of Antiquities naturally carries weight, but the ELY Centre is an independent actor that makes its own decisions.

– We are strictly guided by legislation. We will make our decision based on that. The law defines that we can not protect the function itself (aviation) but the physical environment, structures and the area. The law does not give us the authority to impose something on the area.

Whatever the scope of the protection decision, Huhdanmäki believes that it will be appealed.

– It’s probably going to take a few more years before the matter is resolved.