The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) for Central Finland has issued its statement on the Environmental Impact Assessment report on Metsä Group's planned bioproduct mill in Äänekoski. According to the ELY Centre, which is acting as the contact authority, the Environmental Impact Assessment is sufficiently thorough, and the report fulfils the requirements laid down in the Act on Environmental Impact Assessment Procedure (468/1994).
The contact authority received 12 statements and one opinion on the EIA.
The assessment procedure for the bioproduct mill project was launched in the spring and, after receipt of the contact authority's statement, is now complete. The results of the Environmental Impact Assessment will be taken into account in the design and decision-making concerning the project.
The Environmental Impact Assessment report examined the environmental impacts of the various implementation alternatives for the bioproduct mill as an aid to further planning and decision-making. The alternatives considered were as follows:
- Option 1: Construct a new bioproduct mill with a capacity of 1.3 million tonnes of pulp a year. In addition to the pulp mill, the bioproduct mill complex will include some of the following facilities: bio-oil plant, bioethanol plant, digestion plant, product gas plant, and biocarbon plant.
- Option 2: Construct a pulp mill with a capacity of 1.3 million tonnes of pulp a year.
- Option 0: The existing pulp mill will remain operational until the end of its natural life.
The key environmental impacts of each option were modelled. The mill's impacts on the following areas, among others, were then assessed on the basis of these models: air quality and climate, landscape and cultural landscape, soil and bedrock, bodies of water and traffic, as well as human health, living conditions and amenity. The report also includes a separate evaluation of the environmental impacts during construction. Although the contact authority held the assessment to be sufficient, the points presented in its statement must be considered during further planning of the project. The points concern, among other things, the potential emissions of hazardous substances during dredging, noise abatement planning, and the recommendation to open a new passage for migrating trout through Myllykoski to Lake Keitele.
“The Environmental Impact Assessment process has progressed well from the outset. A large number of people have participated in the process at public events, at EIA monitoring group meetings, from the authorities, and within our own organisation. I would like to extend a warm thank you to everyone who has taken part in this process,” says Project Director Timo Merikallio.
The statement from the Central Finland ELY Centre can be read here (in Finnish): http://www.ymparisto.fi/aanekoskenbiotuotetehdasyva.
Notices of applications for environmental permits on display until 13 November
The bioproduct mill's environmental permit application is progressing according to the schedule agreed with the authorities. A completed EIA process is a prerequisite for obtaining an environmental permit.
The Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland has given notice of applications for environmental permits relating to the bioproduct mill project, and these will be on display until 13 November on noticeboards at the office of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland and at Äänekoski town hall. They can also be read on noticeboards at the town halls of Jyväskylä and Laukaa, and on the Agency's website (in Finnish).