Four tenders were submitted to the Ministry of Finance`s spatial planning consultants` procurement by deadline on January 15th. The procurement was announced on August 17th, but the procurement was contested in the Public Procurements` Review Committee before the deadline in September. The contestation process carried on until the highest instance of court and ended in January 2018, when the Supreme Court decided not to accept the contestant`s appeal in cassation.
State Shared Service Centre and specialists from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Environment will check the conformity of tenders to the procurement qualification criteria. Considering the Public Procurement Act`s procedural requirements, the potential winner can probably be announced by mid-February. Head of the Ministry of Finance`s Spatial Planning Department, Tiit Oidjärv, said that all parties will be involved during the active phase of the spatial planning process.
“I would like to refute the understanding as if initiating a plan or finding experts with a public procurement means a decision has been made to build the biorefinery. During the planning process ahead, it will be investigated whether it is possible and where and under which conditions the refinery could be built, taking into account the accompanying impacts. Initiating spatial planning does not mean a decision to build the refinery and the Government can decide whether to build or not to build after the circumstances – including the environmental impacts – have been ascertained, which will take place during the compilation of the plan. No decision, including where the refinery might be built, has been taken,” he said.
Est-For Invest Member of the Management Board, Margus Kohava, says that launching the active phase of preparations is very good news. On the other hand, the litigation has postponed the beginning of the active national spatial planning by six months.
“According to the original plan, the state wanted to put together a team last autumn and reach the first public display in December. Now, at best, the team will be complete in February. Therefore, the first public disclosure will be pushed to the second half of spring. The delay is bad primarily because all parties related to the project – investors, scientists, locals of Tartu County and public servants – would like quality information about the most important issue i.e. the environment. But we will only be wiser regarding the environment once the research in the framework of the national spatial planning has been carried out,” he said.
On January 11th, a year passed from disclosure of Est-For Invest`s plan to investigate the possibility of establishing a biorefinery in Estonia. Next, we will provide an overview of events during the past year.