Promoting justified risk-based decisions in contaminated land management

Jussi Reinikainen*, Jaana Sorvari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Decision making and regulatory policies on contaminated land management (CLM) are commonly governed by risk assessment. Risk assessment, thus, has to comply with legislation, but also provide valid information in terms of actual risks to correctly focus the potentially required measures and allocate the available resources. Hence, reliable risk assessment is a prerequisite for justified and sustainable risk management. This paper gives an introduction to the Finnish risk-based regulatory framework, outlines the challenges within the policies and the practice and provides an overview of the new guidance document to promote risk-based and sustainable CLM. We argue that the current risk assessment approaches in the policy frameworks are not necessarily efficient enough in supporting justified risk-based decisions. One of the main reasons for this is the excessive emphasis put on conservative risk assessments and on generic guideline values without contributing to their appropriate application. This paper presents how some of the challenges in risk-based decision making have been tackled in the Finnish regulatory framework on contaminated land. We believe that our study will also stimulate interest with regard to policy frameworks in other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-795
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Finland
  • Guideline
  • Legislation
  • Risk assessment
  • Risk management practice
  • Soil


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