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Nordkalk applies for judicial review of the Natura 2000 decision on Gotland

Nordkalk has today 5 November 2015 applied for judicial review by the Supreme Administrative Court regarding the Swedish government’s decision of 31 August 2015 to designate the Bunge area on northern Gotland as a new Natura 2000 area. The government’s decision completely changes the prerequisites of the 10-year-long permit process relating to Nordkalk’s planned quarry operations in Bunge. Nordkalk has also requested the Land and Environment Court of Appeal to suspend the Bunge permit proceedings, until the ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court.

Nordkalk considers the government’s decision, as far as Nordkalk’s property is concerned, to contradict with the right to a fair trial according to the Constitution of Sweden as well as to the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, and must thus be reversed. In preparation of the decision, the government has not taken into consideration individual interests or public interests other than that of environmental conservation. Since the proposal is not a result of a requirement by EU law in accordance with the Habitats Directive, but is based on voluntary initiative, the government has had no valid reason to refrain from considering differing interests according to the principle of proportionality.

Furthermore, the government has been bound by, but has neglected, the legally binding ruling that gave priority to limestone extraction over environmental conservation in the Bunge area. The decision also implies unlawful political involvement, as it intervenes in an on-going permit process in favor of the state bodies which are parties of the process, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the County Administrative Board of Gotland.

In June 2014 the Land and Environment Court granted a permit for the Bunge quarry including conditions, which are now to be examined in the Land and Environment Court of Appeal. The government’s decision to designate new Natura 2000 areas includes 832 hectares of land owned by Nordkalk, covering the whole Bunge quarry area and the transport corridor area between Nordkalk’s existing operations and Bunge.

While the decision will have long-term consequences for Nordkalk, the prejudiced effects the decision risks to impose on the industry in general are reason for concern. As such, a judicial review of the legality of the decision is of utmost general importance to safeguard legal security.

Further information:
Jarkko Kaplin, CEO, Nordkalk Group, +358 (0)20 753 7000, jarkko.kaplin@nordkalk.com
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 1,020 people. Nordkalk is a member of the family-owned Finnish Rettig Group.

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