Barents Environmental Hot Spots

Welcome to the Barents Environmental Hot Spots Information System! The purpose of the information system is to provide due continuously updated information to stakeholders, decision makers and the general public and serve as a tool for those involved in the process of excluding the environmental hot spots.


The Barents Environmental Hot Spot List was initially defined in the report of the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) in collaboration with the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) in 2003.

Barents Environmental Hot Spots are major polluters and issues, which impose significant environmental hazards to surrounding communities and nature. They are located in the Russian part of the Barents region: Arkhangelsk and Murmansk Regions, Nenets Autonomous Region, and the Republics of Karelia and Komi. Experts have foreseen potential for investment projects in these objects.

The Barents Environmental Hot Spot List from 2003 consists of 42 hot spots, representing various sectors, such as pulp and paper, mining and metallurgy, heat and power, water and wastewater, along with other polluted sites. In 2005, Environment Ministers of the four Barents countries - Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden - defined the mutual goal on launching investment projects in all of the 42 Barents Environmental Hot Spots, aiming for their elimination. Later on in 2010, a special exclusion procedure of the Environmental Hot Spots was presented to the Ministers of Environment. The temporary Subgroup on Hot Spots Exclusion was established under the BEAC Working Group on Environment to facilitate the process.  

Since 2010, many joint projects have been implemented to tackle environmental challenges at the hot spots. Investments come from internal financial resources of the hot spots' owners and different funding mechanisms - such as Barents Hot Spot Facility (BHSF), Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) and others. These projects improve water supply and sewage systems of towns and villages, enhance waste management, promote energy saving and reduce airborne emissions. Cooperation enables to achieve significant environmental improvements at many of the hot spots and lead to exclusion of hot spots from the Barents list. To date, 12 full hot spots and 3 partial ones have been eliminated, and the work on environmental progress at other sites is being continued (27 full hot spots and 3 partial ones remain on the list). 

Over the past years, the priority of cooperation was to align the work on Barents Environmental Hot Spots with the implementation of the Russian legislation on permit granting based on Best Available Techniques (BAT). The legislation aims at introducing a new system of state regulation on environmentally hazardous industries. The legislation requires industries to achieve specified conditions and to develop and implement action plans.  In addition, since 2016 the design and implementation of Support Activities have strengthened the progress made on the environmental hot spots. The aim of so-called supporting activities is to use the collective expertise and experience of the Nordic countries and Russia to support the hot spots on taking further steps towards exclusion, strengthen environmental action and support the implementation of the Russian legislation on BAT.

The final decision on exclusion of the hot spots is taken at the meetings of the Barents Environmental Ministers. The meeting takes place every other year and aims for summarizing of results of the Chairmanship within the BEAC Working Group on Environment. Significant progress in pulp and paper industry and wastewater treatment in the Arkhangelsk Region and the Republics of Karelia and Komi was highlighted by the Ministers during the recent Ministerial Meeting in Luleå in February 2020. Due to the existing successful cooperation in the Barents region, four hot spots were excluded from the Barents Environmental Hot Spots list.

List of excluded hot spots during 2011-2020:

2020 Ministerial Meeting in Luleå, Sweden:
A5 Koryazhma Pulp and Paper Mill in Arkhangelsk Region
A9-1 Enterprises of Pulp and Paper as sources of dioxin pollution in Arkhangelsk Region
K5 Sewage treatment in Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia
Ko3-2 Mondi Pulp and Paper Mill in Syktyvkar (discharge to water), Komi Republic

2017 Ministerial Meeting in Vadsø, Norway:
A4 Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill
Ko2-1 Vorkuta Cement Plant, Komi Republic
Ko7 Wood Waste in the nine forest districts of the Komi Republic

2015 Ministerial Meeting in Sortavala, Russia:
A3-2 Severodvinsk Heat and Power Central #2 of TGK #2, Arkhangelsk Region
K4 Drinking water quality in Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia
Ko3-1 Mondi Pulp and Paper Mill in Syktyvkar (emissions to air), Komi Republic

2013 Ministerial Meeting in Inari, Finland:
A2 Arkhangelsk Heat and Power Plant of TGK #2
K1 Kondopoga JSC (Gas emissions from Kondopoga Pulp and Paper Combined Mill), Republic of Karelia
N4 Mercury-containing waste management, Nenets Autonomous District

2011 Ministerial Meeting in Umeå, Sweden:
A10 Stocks of obsolete pesticides in the Arkhangelsk Region
K10 Stocks of obsolete pesticides in the Republic of Karelia
M8 Mercury-containing waste management, Murmansk Region

Read more about Hot Spots Support Activities

Read more about Hot Spots Exclusion Procedure

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