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National defence

As the spatial needs required for national defence cannot be comprehensively planned in the context of maritime spatial planning, they mainly only create significant marginal conditions for other forms of land use. The performance of the Finnish Defence Forces’ statutory tasks limits the other use of marine areas in places due to the nature, location and timing of these activities. 

The special needs of national defence have been identified and taken into account under EU legislation in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and under Finland’s national legislation in the Land Use and Building Act. Under the Land Use and Building Act, the needs of national defence must be secured and taken into account in land use planning and maritime spatial planning. 

Under the Act on the Defence Forces (551/2007) and the Territorial Surveillance Act (755/2000), the Finnish Defence Forces carry out air and maritime surveillance across Finland’s national territory and on its perimeter. National defence requires an active approach from the National Defence Forces in marine areas, which means extensive sea and air surveillance. The Gulf of Finland and the southern parts of the Archipelago Sea are highly important areas for Finland’s overall national defence. 

In addition, Finland’s marine areas include Defence Forces’ secured areas (18), shooting ranges and training areas as well as their associated hazard and restriction areas. From the point of view of national defence, the usability of fairways, the needs of command systems under normal conditions and the underwater structures of the Defence Forces also play a key role. In addition, naval mines and other munitions originating from the time Finland was at war and harmful substances from various activities in Finnish marine areas may remain in Finland’s territorial waters. These hazards should be taken into account and examined on a case-by-case basis, at the latest in connection with more detailed planning.

Considering how the needs of the Defence Forces have been safeguarded under other legislation on the use of the sea, the Maritime Spatial Plan will not result in changes to the current state of national defence and thus the impacts of national defence on other use of the seas.