Swedish Government’s Natura 2000 decision on Gotland suspended

The Swedish Supreme Administrative Court has today decided to suspend the government’s decision of 31 August 2015 to designate land areas on northern Gotland, including areas of Nordkalk’s planned Bunge quarry, as a new Natura 2000 area. Today’s suspension means that the government’s decision will not be valid while waiting for the Supreme Administrative Court to review the lawfulness of the government’s Natura 2000 decision.

Without today’s decision, there would have been a risk that Bunge was included in the Natura 2000 network, when the EU Commission are voting on the proposed list of new areas on 8 November. If Bunge would have been voted into the network, it would have stayed there even if the Supreme Administrative Court later found the government’s decision unlawful.

It is the EU Commission that formally confirms new Natura 2000 areas into the network, based on the suggestions by the member states, which have the real power over of the issue. When an area has been established in the network, it is difficult to remove it. It is difficult to excavate stone in any larger scale within a Natura 2000 area.

The government’s decision of 31 August 2015 to suggest new Natura 2000 areas on Gotland changed completely Nordkalk’s prerequisites in the already 10-year-long Bunge permit process. Therefore, Nordkalk applied on 5 November 2015 for a judicial review by the Supreme Administrative Court of the government’s decision. At the same time Nordkalk applied for the ongoing permit process in the Land and Environment Court of Appeal to be put on hold until the court has come to a decision.

The basis for the review is that Nordkalk considers the government’s decision to contradict with the right to a fair trial according to the Constitution of Sweden as well as with the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The government’s decision interferes with an ongoing court proceeding i.e. the Bunge permit process before in the Land and Environment Court of Appeal.

For further information:
Eva Feldt, Communications Manager: +46 (0)10 4762664, +46 (0)739 201086, eva.feldt@nordkalk.com

Nordkalk is Northern Europe’s leading supplier of limestone-based products. We offer sustainable products for various fields of industry, such as pulp and paper, metals and mining, construction and chemical industry. Our products benefit the environment through flue-gas desulphurisation, water treatment and soil improvement. We strive for more customer value with less environmental impact. Nordkalk is a local supplier with activities at more than 30 locations mainly around the Baltic Sea. The company employs some 970 people. Nordkalk is a member of the family-owned Finnish Rettig Group. www.nordkalk.com