Tartu City Government has submitted an opinion regarding the draft government order sent for coordination by the Ministry of Finance that foresees the termination of the compilation of a national designated spatial plan for the establishment of a pulp mill.
"We have also contested the order of the Government of the Republic for the initiation of a national designated spatial plan in administrative court," Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform) said in a press release, adding that the city would continue the dispute until the particular spatial plan in question is terminated.
"At the same time, we also agree with the termination of the spatial plan for reasons presented in the draft government order prepared by the Ministry of Finance and the letter of explanation accompanying it," the mayor noted.
Tartu City Government agrees with the conclusions made in the draft order sent for coordination that finding a suitable location for the pulp mill in Tartu County or within the area of the spatial plan initiated with a government order holds no perspective and the state's interest regarding the establishment of the mill does not outbalance the interest of local government units in preserving the established living and natural environment and protecting communal values.
The city government said that the fact that the developer has launched consultations with several local governments for finding a potential new location for the pulp mill does not change the need to terminate the national designated spatial plan initiated by the government, noting that it is not possible to develop a planning solution that takes into consideration the principles of planning and fulfills the objective of the Planning Act within the procedure of the specific spatial plan.
"If a local government supports the initiation of the process for the planning and impact assessment regarding the establishment of the pulp mill and the conducting of relevant studies, a new plan must be initiated on a proper legal basis," the mayor said. "Only as a result of a new and legally initiated planning procedure is it possible to reach a legal planning solution."
According to Klaas, among other things, only in the event of initiating a new plan would it be possible to involve in the planning procedure in a timely and efficient manner all concerned persons, including all local governments whose territory may potentially accommodate the pulp mill or whose territory may potentially be impacted by the plant.
The Estonian government on 21 June initiated the termination of the national designated spatial plan for a €1 billion pulp mill to be built by Est-For Invest, originally planned for Southern Estonia, near the Emajõgi River. The draft resolution was forwarded to the parties involved on 13 September, but responding to a request from the developer, the government extended the deadline for terminating the procedure until 3 November.
Editor: Aili Vahtla