Thursday , January 28 2021

Sejm is inclined to facilitate the development of certain cities at the expense of forests

Parliament approved this week's vote on amendments to the Act on Forestry Reduction, and its adoption is scheduled for next Thursday.

If parliamentarians approve them, the new regime would apply to the municipalities of Varėna, Visaginas, Druskininkai, Švenčionys, Kazlų Rūda and Rietavas in the woods. They would pay the state forest land to the state to the extent that forest plantation would be free, not double or triple tariffs to change land use, plan city development in protected and protected forests and protected areas of state reserves.

Correction printers "farmers" Zenonas Streikas and Virginija Vingrienė and liberals Juozas Baublys and Jonas Liesys say that the new scheme would enable the municipalities to save. According to V.Vinisienė, the most recent order for Warren and Visaginas is required.

"The biggest problem for these municipalities is that they do not have a free state outside the forest and that urban development is harming. For example, Druskininkai has free open land, is a rich resort and this increased compensation is not a problem to pay," says BNS.

The government and STT are against

The government says that the changes would destroy the Lithuanian nature of the forest and the natural forests in them.

According to the government, an exceptional case involving the possibility of turning forest land into residential areas not only for the public but also for private interests, that is, the purpose of housing construction.

"Therefore, changes have been made and refused to distinguish between monetary compensation, municipalities and individuals interested in creating residential areas, would be interested in forming residential areas in the most attractive forest areas," the government writes to Seimas.

STT notes that the changes "would create conditions for corruption" – it is not excluded that private individuals interested in creating residential areas can try to influence municipal decisions so that such areas are formed in the most attractive forest areas – in forests of more valuable groups.

Now forest land can only be transferred to another country, in exceptional cases stated in the Act. V.Vingriene has calculated that such cases are already 12.

Ministry: No exception

Nerijus Kupstaitis, Head of Forest Policy Department at the Ministry of Environment's Department for Nature Conservation and Forestry, said that the exception when the conversion of forest land to another country was allowed from 2013.

So far, none of the municipalities have used it. In addition, only two were interested.

"In Varna, only Visagina municipality has raised the question – others are not relevant", – says N.Kupstaitis.

According to him, Varennakommunen was the first and so far the only one that initiated the transformation of woodland in about 8.4 ha of woodland.

By 2017, the government adopted a resolution on the removal of the said area from forests of state importance. This means that consent has already been given to transfer the forest country to other tools.

"At that time, the compensation was calculated for her according to the method approved by the government to approximately 300 thousand. The municipality did not pay this compensation without initiating initiatives to reduce legislative changes or eliminate all compensation in such cases," says Kupstaitis.

Deputy mayor of Varena: the return of the land will accelerate

Deputy Mayor Giedrius Samulevičius BNS claimed that the amendment would allow the municipality to complete the land reform and solve the last 23 people – to allocate land to them.

According to Vicemero, if the use of forest land changes in accordance with the current procedure, the municipal budget should float about 300 thousand. According to G. Samulevicius, it would be too much burden, and if the new one is three times less.

He predicts that after the reform of land reform, justice will be restored and new packages will be available, and trade will increase the local real estate market.

"The city is also very busy, the people who have got their property will decide whether to build, keep their children or sell them to third parties. Then there will be supply and areas," – said the mayor.

Head of Forest Policy Department of the Ministry of the Environment, N.Kupstait, BNS, regretted that in Varėnas, the purpose of the second time was to "change urban forests to private property" at their removal and then change the purpose of the country.

"There is a private business interest here, nothing else, because the municipality avoids paying compensation and shares the packages in real estate. These plots are actually sold at market prices," says N.Kupstaitis.

"Urban forests are automatically state forests with a public function and therefore, under the Constitution, they can not be privatized, they must remain state forests," he added.

He mentioned the case when about 15 years ago, when the strict requirements for rebuilding woodland to other agricultural land were not effective, where in Varna, when the forest was already "sacrificed", packages were formed to restore ownership of the land, but not half of them were built .

Visaginas – residential area

According to Sergey Mickiewicz, Head of Visagina Regional Municipality Administration, long-term construction of a residential building could be started in Visaginas without any significant compensation to the state for forest cutting and land use.

"Our city is unique, there is no home, there is a forest everywhere, there is no place to build, there are no areas, and for inspiration we need more than 300 thousand euros. We have a great need for Such houses, as investors come and many housewives want to build their own homes but do not have the opportunity, they are in the surrounding districts, says the head of the administration.

According to S.Mickiewicz, the project was prepared for a 47-hectare block a few years ago. 18 hectares would be designed to form 119 plots.

"Or already at the end of the year, or at the beginning of next year, we could start implementing the project", – promised Visaginas municipality's representative.

On average, about 1,000 hectares of ordinary forest waters are converted to another country for about 10,000. Euro. The municipalities pay this money to the state budget, and the state in turn claims that instead of a ruined forest area, a new forest will be established elsewhere.

Double or three times more suitable for converting other countries into sheltered, recreational, urban and other important forests.

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