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Finnish officials seek clarity on environmental impact of Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel

Officials asked for a detailed report on impact of the undersea tunnel on transport, land use and nature.

Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

The Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) has asked for a more comprehensive report on the environmental impact of the proposed undersea railway tunnel between Finland and Estonia.

On Wednesday, the ELY Centre published a statement on the developer's Environmental Impact Assessment Program (EIA) for the Finnish segment of the project.

The statement called for detailed explanations on the environmental impact and the feasibility of three possible tunnel routes and different implementation methods in such a way that it allows for a meaningful comparison.

In addition, authorities stated that the evaluation report and explanations should include a more detailed assessment of the impact of the project on transport, land use, the Gulf of Finland, nature and people's living conditions.

The new report should also include a proposal for possible monitoring arrangements for significant adverse environmental impacts, according to the ELY Centre statement.

Proposed routes of undersea tunnel

There are three proposed routes for the tunnel that will connect the capital cities of Finland and Estonia and significantly reduce travel time between the countries to just 30 minutes.

The first route would be from the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport via Otaniemi in Espoo to an artificial island constructed in Hramtsow shoal and towards Tallinn.

The second alternative would be from the Helsinki airport via Ilmala and Otaniemi to an artificial island constructed in the Ulkomatala shoal, towards Tallinn.

The third route would start from the airport and travel via Pasila and the centre of Helsinki to Tallinn.

The 100 kilometre-long tunnel project is estimated to take 5-9 years to complete.

The FinEst Bay Area Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel is a project by the Finnish company Finest Bay Area Development, led by ex-Angry Birds marketing guru Peter Vesterbacka.