Residents of Municipalities Affected by Rail Baltic Cry Foul
While "full speed ahead" has until recently not been a common association with the Rail Baltic project expected to link the Baltics to Central Europe in a few decades, one civic group alleges that important decisions are being made too hastily and without broad-based public involvement.
A group advocating for openness on the project, made up of people whose proverbial backyards would be affected by the proposed line, say the planning work is being rushed to meet EU deadlines, reported ETV.
The first round of public comment is over and while the next one is slated for earlier next year, the main alternatives for path of the rail line are already decided.
The most controversial of the routes are 10A, 10B and 10E, which exit Tallinn on the east side and as they sweep across Harju County en route to Pärnu, cross karst terrain - areas with porous limestone sensitive to ground water contamination and cave-ins.
Nabala Environment Conservation Association director and Saku municipality's council chairman Tanel Ots said that the issue is being seriously discussed in local communities in Kostivere, Vaida, Vaidasoo, Sõmeru, Kehtna and Rapla County.
"What we're proposing is to be reasonable, take some more time. At the very least, plan on the next EU financing period and do it right - build something that will last 100 or more years," said Ots.
Ots's conservation society recently led a successful international petition drive to protect a tourist attraction in the karst area, the Tuhala Witch's Well, from mining operations.