Saarde Municipality planning to support launch of pulp mill studies

Map indicating area of Pärnu County that could be suitable for the planned pulp mill.
Map indicating area of Pärnu County that could be suitable for the planned pulp mill. Source: ERR

Saarde Municipal Council in Pärnu County is planning at its Wednesday meeting to support the launch of planning studies, including the strategic environmental impact assessment, of a large pulp mill to be built by Est-For Invest in the municipality.

The plan during the assessment is to investigate whether the establishment of the pulp mill on the territory of Saarde Municipality is possible as well as investigate the establishment of infrastructure necessary for the operation of the mill, it appears from a draft resolution of the municipal council.

According to a petition submitted to the council by Est-For Invest, a site of approximately 100 hectares, which has a good connection with transport infrastructure, ie a road, and the planned Rail Baltica cargo station, must be found for the establishment of the pulp mill.

The key prerequisites for the launch of the spatial plan are the establishment of the Rail Baltica railway on the territory of Saarde Municipality, the possibility of abstraction of the planned pulp mill from Pärnu River and the possibility of directing the filtered effluent to the Gulf of Riga so that it does not impact the environment of Pärnu Bay.

Est-For hoping to still find location for plant

Minister of Public Administration Janek Mäggi (Centre) last Friday extended the deadline for responding to the draft government decision on the termination of the procedure for a national designated spatial plan for a large pulp mill to be built by Est-For Invest.

In its application for the postponement of the deadline, Est-For cites ongoing consultations with Räpina, Võru, Setomaa and Saarde Municipalities, the results of which may significantly impact the opinion to be expressed concerning the draft regulation. 

The industrialists are not ruling out that the list of municipalities potentially interested in the pulp mill could become longer. 

The new deadline for responding also applies to the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, to which the Finance Ministry has forwarded the draft regulation for endorsement, as well as Viljandi, Tartu, Elva, Kambja, Kastre, Luunja and Peipsiääre Municipalities and the city of Tartu, from whom an opinion on the draft regulation is awaited.  

The original deadline for submitting opinions was 13 October.

Following protests by local residents and opposition from Tartu City Council and Tartu city government, the Estonian government decided in June to initiate the termination of the procedure for the preparation of the national designated spatial plan for the establishment of a €1 billion pulp mill that had been launched in spring 2017. 

Est-For has said that their mill would process about 3.3 million tonnes of paperwood and produce up to 750,000 tonnes of output per year, and would export its output.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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