The Estonian Ministry of the Environment approved the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) of Harju, Rapla and Pärnu county planning on August 11, 2017. According to the Ministry, the EIA meets the requirements and the effects of the route have been adequately assessed.
The assessment approval is one of the prerequisites for setting the Rail Baltica route in Estonia. This allows to move forward with the final stage of the county planning process.
„In the future Rail Baltica will make our north-south direction transportation considerably more environmentally friendly. Therefore, it is also very important for us that during its development the impact to the natural environment is minimized, and the proposed mitigation measures would help us to conserve the natural environment as much as possible. The approved EIA report in Estonia creates a good framework for this “, said Indrek Orav, CEO of Rail Baltic Estonia OÜ.
In Estonia, the EIA of Rail Baltica is distinguished by similar projects in that the evaluation has been carried out in a much more detailed and in-depth manner. Engineers have worked in parallel, which means that the impacts have been assessed in much more detail than just the generalization level of the county plan. During the entire process, close cooperation has taken place between different state agencies.
What concerns other Baltic States, the EIA of the Rail Baltica section in Latvia was approved last year. The Government of Latvia approved the route in August 2016 defining the Rail Baltica project as object of national interests.
In Lithuania, the Strategic Environmental Assessment and full EIA has been prepared together with the spatial plan for the section „LT/LV state border – Kaunas RRT Palemonas“ and approved in January, 2017. For other Rail Baltica Global Project’s sections in Lithuania, the SEA and EIA will be prepared in the coming years.