Minister in no rush to approve termination of pulp mill spatial plan
The back and forth over the termination of the spatial plan for the planned €1 billion pulp mill to be built by Est-For Invest will continue as Minister of Public Administration Janek Mäggi (Centre) said that it is difficult to adopt a final stance on what kind of proposal the Ministry of Finance will submit to the government, regional daily Tartu Postimees reported on Tuesday.
"I have said on multiple occasions previously that there are essentially two options," Mäggi said. "One option is to terminate the spatial plan, and the other is to replace the planning areas by excluding Tartu and Viljandi Counties. These two options are currently possible as well, but I cannot say which of them will be the Ministry of Finance's proposal. It is possible that both options will be submitted to the government for discussion, but our final analysis has not been compiled yet."
Last week, Est-For Invest, the company seeking to build the pulp mill, proposed for the government not to terminate the spatial plan, as there are local governments interested in the establishment of the pulp mill, and studies could be conducted in the framework of the already initiated spatial plan. Häädemeeste Municipality announced its opinion, according to which analyses could be conducted without a spatial plan as well. The City of Tartu, meanwhile, declared clear support for the termination of the spatial plan.
Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform) said he considers the manner in which the government is doing business to be reprehensible.
"A drat order of the Government of the Republic regarding the termination of the spatial plan has been sent for approval, but if something else turns out, this sort of manner of conducting business is not right or fair to the local governments concerned; it is not fair to the people, as we have expressed an opinion regarding this draft that was sent to us for an opinion," he said.
Tartu City Secretary Jüri Mölder said that what makes one cautious is the stances of the municipal councils of Viru-Nigula and Saarde, according to which they want the spatial plan to move forward and are prepared for studies to be conducted, coupled with the opinion of the Administrative Law Chamber of the Supreme Court that the area of the spatial plan can be changed "in an incomprehensible manner and at a random moment."
"I do not share that stance," Mölder said. "In a situation in which the central government approves the possibility that a spatial plan is a suitable tool for planning a pulp mill and two local governments have said yes, it is most likely that it will move forward." This, in turn, raises suspicions that based on the study results, the conclusion may be drawn that the most suitable location for the planned pulp mill is still in the vicinity of the Emajõgi River.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla