Harju County local government union calls for Helsinki tunnel spatial plan ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Artist's impression of the proposed Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel.
Artist's impression of the proposed Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel. Source: Finest Bay Area

Joel Jesse, manager of the Association of Municipalities of Harju County, say the need for an undersea tunnel between Tallinn and Helsinki has been clearly proven, and the initiation of a national designated spatial plan would be the next logical step.

Jesse said that consideration should be given to the option that the developer would help finance the planning procedure.

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) has, however, proposed not to initiate the procedure of a national designated spatial plan for a potential tunnel, on the grounds of environmental, economic and national security considerations.

According to Jesse, answers to these questions would be received only in course of the spatial plan procedure.

Jesse said: "All these security threats, various environment related threats -- I am convinced that the national designated spatial plan is the very document, is the very procedure in the framework of which all possible dangers, risks are assessed. And then it will be assessed whether these dangers and risks can be mitigated, or they are too big and cannot be mitigated and preclude the potential establishment [of the tunnel]."

He said that before the planning procedure has started, it is not possible to say with 100 percent certainty whether some risk is too big or not.

Henrik Hololei, director general of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, considers the construction of a tunnel between the two capitals a good idea. However, he estimated the tunnel project from Finnish businessman Peter Vesterbacka as being too optimistic.

Hololei told ERR: "It is possible to move forward with this topic between the countries as a whole, to discuss it, and then perhaps it will materialize at some point in the distant future. I believe that one should never say no to anything once and for all and shove it off the table, you have look at it in its own time and space."

He added: "As regards this specific matter, I believe that the Estonian government has considered it seriously, and it at least seems to me that what they have said out at this point, and what minister Aab has said too, is altogether logical and sensible."

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab declined comment on the position of the manager of the Harju County municipalities' body.  

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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