Harju and Rapla locals contest Rail Baltica route choice in court (1)
Two Harju and Rapla County village societies as well as 16 private citizens contested the county governors’ decision on the preferred route of the Rail Baltica project in Tallinn’s Administrative Court yesterday.
The people, all of whom live near the proposed route of the new railway, asked the court to order the governor to consider alternative routes previously left out of the pre-selection procedure. They also wanted the court to forbid the governor to accept a county plan that only included a single route.
“We find that the selection of a route that costs €37-70m, mostly affects people, and comes with very considerable environmental risks isn’t in the interest of the Estonian state, and isn’t fair to the Estonian people,” the contesters stated.
According to Meelis Šokman, who is currently building a house for his family of five in Kangru, the village society of Kangru as well as other societies and locals have approached the county governor as well as several ministries and the Prime Minister about what they call considerable errors in the selection of the future route of Rail Baltica.
“We’ve pointed out lots of serious miscalculations and evaluation errors. Part of them have been improved by the planners of the route, but nevertheless, in our opinion the county governor has made an arbitrary choice selecting the western route,” Šokman said.
Rail Baltica is one of the EU’s trans-European transport network priorities. The project includes around 950 km of new railway construction on a route from Berlin through Warsaw, Vilnius, and Riga to Tallinn. In Estonia, the new railway will connect Tallinn and Pärnu, and enters the Tallinn metropolitan region from the South.