Permission to cut young trees to be viewed at Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court (ST) has initiated a case on government decision of summer 2022 which allowed the felling of younger forests, LETA reported on January 30.

The amendments to the forest felling rules, which would allow the felling of newer pine, spruce, and birch forests, were first directed in 2017 and repeated in 2019 and were always suspended due to objections from environmentalists. At the beginning of the summer of 2022, however, the government swiftly adopted changes, appealing to the need to increase the production of woodchips before winter and this time ignoring the objections of environmental organizations.

A case has now been brought before the court following an application by the Latvian Fund for Nature, the World Fund for Nature and the Latvian Ornithologist Society to assess the compatibility of the amendments with the Article 115 of the Constitution, which stipulate that the state protects the right of every person to live in a favorable environment. 

According to the applicants, first of all, the obligation of the State to establish and ensure an effective environmental protection system, enshrined in Article 115 of the Constitution, has been infringed, since neither the right of applicants to participate in the environmental decision-making process nor the principles of prudence and evaluation have been respected.

Secondly, the principle of sustainability has been violated. Thirdly, there is no reasonable balance between the public interest in living in a favorable environment, on the one hand, and the promotion of economic development on the other.

The deadline for preparing the case is June 27. The nature and date of the proceedings will be decided by the court following the preparation of the case.

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