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Adhering to the framework of environmental charges, pollution and resource charges will change in the following ten years by 3-6 per cent a year
Keskkonnatasude raamkava järgi muutuvad saaste- ja ressursitasud järgmisel kümnel aastal 3-6 protsenti aastas
The Ministry of the Environment sent a draft framework of environmental charges for coordination to other ministries, proposing to raise environmental charges from 2016 by 3-6 per cent a year. This enables reaching environmental aims concerning the living environment and health as well as to use non-renewable natural resources more efficiently, considering at the same time the needs of industry, using non-renewable natural resources.
In shaping the size of the environmental charges for the new ten-year period, the Ministry has taken into account over more than 40 surveys, analyses or monitoring results. Main focus lies on changing the charge for pollutants having a negative effect on health, in order to direct the industry to decrease the negative impact. This concerns both air and water pollution. The change of the resource charge for non-renewable mineral resources - 3-6 per cent a year – is such that the use of state mineral resources by commercial enterprises would not become cheaper in time.
In case of construction minerals, the problem is that although the extraction permit for sand and gravel has been issued in the form of 256 permits, no extraction occurred in case of more than a hundred permits in 2013. In sixty cases, no extraction at all has occurred at the mines in five years. In order to solve the problem, a twofold use of the extraction charge has been implemented: one part is paid for the amount of mineral resources already extracted, while the other, smaller part is paid annually for the reservation of mineral resources and extraction right irrespective of whether the extraction right is realised or not. The two-fold charge concerns such types of mineral resources where the problem is widest – the extraction of construction gravel and sand.
The Ministry of the Environment has involved all parties in the development of the discussion. As the interests of different interest groups are extremely different, no party can assume that the opinion of one interest group would be surely formalised as a proposal, following from the participation.
Keit Pentus-Rosimannus commented that the task of the Ministry is to find such a balance between very different proposals that as a result of them both the living environment of local people and health, as well as nature and industry would gain from this. “For the next ten years, the change in environmental charges will occur so that it will remain in the extent of 3-6 per cent a year, considering all this. Of course, it is always possible to order further analyses, but we are convinced at the Ministry of the Environment that we have the necessary basis material. The suspension of thorough and detailed pre-work for conducting additional surveys and analyses is not necessary and would entail the freezing of environmental charges for an unforeseen long time,“ explained the Minister.
The extraction fee for oil shale will be increased by 3 per cent by 2020, doing so 5 per cent a year. The overall impact of all charges concerning oil shale will remain in the extent of 5 per cent. The Ministry of the Environment did not support freezing the charge of extraction permits of pollution and resources – this would mean that pollution and use of non-renewable resources in Estonia, in conditions of inflation, would become increasingly cheaper.
The rates for construction minerals will increase up to 6 per cent.
Environmental charges have been established by a regulation until the end of 2015 and thus it is important to establish new rates. The surveys on the compilation of the framework of environmental charges valid for 2016-2025 as well as the participation plan can be read on the website of the Ministry of the Environment.