Helen’s EIA on biofuels is best of the year due to strong interaction
Helen Ltd’s environmental impact assessment on increasing the use of biofuels in Helsinki has received the Finnish EIA Award 2015. The environmental impact assessment was related to Helen’s development programme towards a carbon-neutral future. The award panel particularly appreciated the strong investment in engaging stakeholders and interaction with residents.
Helen’s EIA, or environmental impact assessment, studied the building of a new multifuel power plant in Vuosaari and raising the share of biofuels to 40 per cent at the Hanasaari and Salmisaari power plants as the main alternatives. The EIA was implemented in 2012–2014 in collaboration with various experts, residents, organisations and authorities. Helen’s partner in the implementation was Ramboll Oy. During the project, Helen aimed to create interaction procedures for continuing interaction even after the EIA has been completed, throughout the life cycle of the project.
– In the project, my colleagues boldly immersed themselves in working methods that are not taught in universities of technology. They were dodging snakes on field trips and, in the blog, sought solutions to tricky problems presented by the residents. I am happy that this dedication is rated highly in the form of this award. However, the greatest thanks should go to the interested citizens, says Development Manager Minna Näsman of Helen Ltd.
The Finnish Association for Impact Assessment (Yva ry), which awarded the Finnish EIA Award 2015, valued not only the rigour of the studies carried out, but also the particular engagement in interaction.
– In the EIA procedure, interaction and stakeholder activities were invested in with exceptional commendation. The methods used already in the planning stage included interviews to find out how the interest groups wanted to be heard. Various methods were used in stakeholder co-operation in a versatile way, succeeding to reach a wide group of participants. The environmental impacts have been thoroughly assessed. The extensive and diverse material has been gathered into a fairly hefty EIA report which is, however, descriptive and has a clear structure, says Janna Riikonen, Chairman of the judging panel.
The Finnish EIA Award The Finnish EIA Award is a prize annually granted by the Finnish Association for Impact Assessment (Yva ry) in order to encourage and draw attention to an exemplary and praiseworthy activity in terms of impact assessment. The Association operates as a link between various actors involved in environmental impact assessment. The Finnish EIA Award and the Finnish SEA Award are given each year in the national EIA conference. Further information about the Finnish EIA Award and the Finnish SEA Award is available at http://www.yvary.fi/yva-palkinto/.