The project and pilots

IMPERIA project

IMPERIA is partially EU LIFE+ financed project in which the Finnish Environment Institute acted as a coordinator. Project partners included both universities conducting research and education in the field of environmental impact assessment (Thule Institute of the Oulu University, Department of Biological and Environmental Science at the University of Jyväskylä) and environmental consultant companies (Ramboll Finland Ltd, SITO Ltd). Also the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland enhanced the project with financial support. IMPERIA worked in close co-operation with several environmental consultant companies and environmental authorities, which enables the results combining strong theoretical knowledge and practical skills in environmental impact assessment. 

Aims and methods of IMPERIA

In IMPERIA, good practices and methods were reviewed using documents of EIA and SEA cases in Finland and other EU countries, handbooks and guidelines published for conducting EIA and SEA, scientific articles, interviews with major environment consultants and  EIA authorities in Finland, and a questionnaire administered to chosen EIA/SEA consultants in EU countries. All this information was utilized to collect good practices and develop new methods and tools to enhance effective and good-quality impact assessments with transparent and clear reporting.

The use of methods of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) can be used to collect, organize and present the possible impacts of developments and plans in systematic, comprehensive and transparent way. The tools developed in IMPERIA enable the structured comparison of impacts affecting different objects, acting to different directions and with different scales. At its best, adopting the principles and methods of MCDA can bring new views and insights to impact assessments. 

Participation of stakeholder groups and public is an essential part of environmental impact assessment. In IMPERIA, early participation was highlighted to enhance the information change and build trust among public, developer and environmental consultant. This is how the issues and effects with local and regional importance are taken into consideration in impact assessment. 

In environmental impact assessment,  impact significance assessment is extremely important but poorly understood issue. IMPERIA focused its work especially to this problem and more systematic approach was developed for impact significance assessment and documenting the assessment results. In this approach, stakeholder and local views can also be analyzed.   


Pilot projects 

In IMPERIA, practices, tools and guidelines were developed with special focus on applicability of these in practice, increasing public interest to EIA and SEA, and enhancing the effectiveness and usefulness of the processes. New practices, and MCDA and internet-based tools developed for EIA and SEA were applied in three pilot projects and five minipilots to collect real-life experiences of their applicability and usability for further development.





Pilot project

The role of IMPERIA in the pilot project




The EIA for Piiparinmäki-Lammaslamminkangas wind farm 

A thorough stakeholder analysis was conducted and new ways to enhance the co-operation between assessment experts and stakeholders were explored. During this pilot project, the ARVI tool for impact significance assessment was developed. Local knowledge essential for the impact assessment was collected using a map-based Internet questionnaire (HARAVA) räätälöitynä.


The EIA for wastewater management of Vihti commune The comparison of alternatives was supported by using an influence diagram visualizing direct and indirect water quality impacts. Additionally, ARVI tool was tested.


The SEA for flood risk management plan for the river Lapuanjoki An example report for the environmental impacts of a flood protection plan was compiled by exploiting the results of the comparison of alternatives accomplished with multi-criteria decision analysis.
4. The watercourse risk assessment of new peat extraction areas in Southern Ostrobothnia Regional planning was supported by applying the methods of participatory multi-criteria decision analysis for collecting information about stakeholder opinions and preferences.
5. The evaluation of the drinking water supply options for the City of Oulu A comparison of alternatives was supported by using multi-criteria decision analysis. Additionally, the ARVI tool was tested.
6. The SEA for regional programme 2014-2017 of Northern Ostrobothnia The impact significance assessment process was supported by applying a systematic and structured approach.
7. The EIA for wastewater management of the City of Lappeenranta The map-based Internet questionnaire HARAVA was implemented to gather information on the stakeholder views and opinions.
8. The EIA for the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia The impact significance assess´ment was supported by using ARVI approach and testing the ARVI tool. In addition, material was produced in English to enable the use of the ARVI approach in international assessment projects.