Estonia

Estonian Peat Association

Secretary
Erki Niitlaan
Estonian Peat Association
Männiku tee 104
EE-11216 Tallinn
ESTONIA
phone: +372 668 1016
mobile: +372 552 7327
e-mail: info (at) turbaliit.ee

Assistant
Margit Pulk
e-mail: margit (at) turbaliit.ee
mobile: +372 51 85 384
phone: +372 66 81 011

Annual Report 2015

In 2015, the NGO Estonian Peat Association had 32 members from peat extraction, processing and consulting companies from Estonia and abroad. There were no changes in the membership.

The main activities included legal cooperation, especially with the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Among other undertakings, EPA representatives worked in the Energy Council, belonging to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and in three commissions at the Ministry of the Environment - Commission of Estonian Mineral Resources, Peat Roundtable and the working group to create the list of peatlands that are suitable for production.

Similar to 2014, cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment mostly included the analysis of the new Earth Crust Act and preparation of a draft list of peatlands that are suitable for production. At the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, EPA dealt predominantly with the legal questions of energy peat use and district heating, which were included in the analysis of the draft for the new District Heating Act and District Heating Investment Funds Act.

In this regard, meetings with the Ministry of the Environment and the Environmental Investment Centre were held. EPA requested them to allow the use of peat fuel in boilers that are renovated with the financial aid of the state. The condition was that the peat is extracted from a peatland, which is included in the list of peatlands suitable for production.

In addition to the abovementioned activities, EPA representatives analysed the European Union Policy for 2015 - 2019. They also participated in the elaboration of the energy and resource efficiency grant system and took part in the exporter’s competitiveness study. Legal opinion was asked regarding whether or not a peat production area is a plant/factory. This question affects EIA process and handling.

EPA members participated and presented at various conferences, both local and international. Additionally, several conferences, meetings and seminars were organized. In spring, two important events took place – the meeting with the Minister of the Environment Marko Pomerants and the field trip to Portugal on 8 - 14 April, including visits to horticultural companies.

Autumn was busy due to the most important event organized by EPA, XV Baltic Peat Producers Forum. The forum was held in Saaremaa, Kuressaare city on 15 - 18 September and brought together 250 delegates. The subject of the forum was “Peat Industry in Turbulence of Politics and Economy”.

In cooperation with EPAGMA and The Economic Affairs Committee, EPA organized an energy peat seminar in the Parliament of Estonia.

It has become customary to finish the event calendar with the general meeting and a seminar. This year, the event was organized in Viljandi city. The main subjects of the seminar were the changes in the legislation, activities of other professional associations, etc.

As usual, EPA advised its members, drew up statistical overviews and publicized the wall calendar and seventh Peat newspaper. The members participated in a survey regarding economic prognosis. In June 2015, the results of study, “Reducing the Hydrogeological Impact of Peat Production”, were published. This study was launched in 2014 and co-financed by the Environmental Investment Centre.

Close cooperation with the International Peatland Society (IPS), European Peat and Growing Media Association (EPAGMA), Latvian and Lithuanian Peat Producers’ Associations, scientists and other organizations continued.

Annual Report 2013

In 2013, the Estonian Peat Association had 32 members from peat production, processing and consulting companies from Estonia and abroad. There were no changes in the membership.

The main activities included legal cooperation, especially with the Ministry of the Environment. The most important legal questions were related to permits’ renewal and natural resources taxation policies.

In these questions, EPA was in close cooperation with the Estonian Association of Mining Enterprises, the Association of Estonian Construction Material Producers and the Federation of Estonian Chemical Industries.

In 2012, the abovementioned associations commissioned a study from Ernst & Young, analysing the tax burden on Estonian mining industry companies. In 2013, the results of the study were presented at various seminars, at the Ministry of the Environment and also at the EPA General Meeting. In addition, on 13 December 2013, the Estonian Supreme Court supported the Chancellor of Justice’s appeal regarding a rapid growth in taxation of natural resources. The Supreme Court declared that changes made by the Estonian Government on 12 November 2009 to regulations numbers 171 and 172 were unconstitutional.

In 2013, meetings were held with the Estonian Competition Authority and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. The main topic of the meetings was changing the District Heating Act in order to favour the use of local fuels (including peat) in local boiler houses. Two representatives of the Association, Matti Puuronen and

Erki Niitlaan, were designated to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Communications Energy Council. EPA representatives also continued to participate in two work commissions – the Commission of Estonian Mineral Resources and the Peat Roundtable.

EPA in cooperation with the Peat Roundtable and the Estonian Convention Bureau prepared bid documents for organizing the International Peat Congress 2020 in Estonia. The organiser of the Congress will be elected in Riga in August 2014.

EPA members participated in and presented data at various international conferences, and cooperated closely with the International Peat Society (IPS), the European Peat and Growing Media Association (EPAGMA), and the Latvian and Lithuanian Peat Producers’ Associations. Important events also included the Baltic Peat Producers’ Forum in Vilnius, seminars in Brussels and meetings relating to a responsibly produced peat certification system in Amsterdam, Riga and elsewhere. In addition, members participated in the Estonian Mining Congress in Narva.

As usual, EPA advised its members, drew up statistical overviews, and published a wall calendar as well as the fifth edition of the Peat newspaper. EPA also took part in establishing the Tootsi Peat Museum and continued to cooperate with scientists and other organisations (such as the Estonian Mining Society and the Estonian Nature Fund).

One more important event was our field trip to Spain on 23 - 29 September. During the trip, participants visited seven horticultural companies who use horticultural peat produced in Estonia.

Annual Report 2012

2012 was a busy year for the Estonian Peat Association. Even though membership remained stable, there were numerous events and new intriguing discussion points. The main focus was on organizing the 12th Baltic Peat Producers Forum and publishing a book on the history of peat production in Estonia. This year it was Estonia’s turn to organize the Baltic Peat Producers’ Forum, carrying the epigraph “Knowledge is necessity in peat”. We are glad to tell that participation in the Forum is increasing every year – the 2012 Forum gathered 240 participants!

The Baltic Peat Producers Forum was held in Tallinn on 5 - 7 September. During these three days participants had the chance to visit the Estonian Seaplane Harbour, listen to interesting presentations, participate in master classes and take part in excursions to Väo CHP plant, Muuga Port and different greenhouses.

During the main session, keynote speakers from the Baltic States gave the traditional Baltic update about local peat production news from 2012. In addition, colleagues from other organisations and countries covered a wide range of topics – production technologies, growing media, certification systems and future outlooks.

On the 5th of September, the Peat yearly newspaper was issued, covering important news from the previous year and showing positive sides of peat production to everyone, emphasizing the necessity of peat in energy production and in agriculture. In addition, the newspaper contained examples of using peat in textile production and art projects.

Another important event was the Annual General Meeting, held on 6th of December. The General Meeting included reports and summaries from 2012 and introducing an action plan for 2013. We can state that 2012 was not a good year for peat producers in Estonia. Firstly, this was due to unsuitable weather conditions, like heavy rainfalls and not enough sunshine. In addition, there were various regulative obstacles; for example, the Governments’ decision to increase peat resource fees, as well as requiring mandatory permits for the special use of water.

In connection with the meeting, a seminar with 60 participants was held. Main topics were a Revision of Estonian Peat Deposits, Carbon Content in peat production and reclamation of the Viru cutover peatland. The seminar was followed by a presentation of the book “History of the Estonian peat industry”. This book is a thorough overview of more than 150 years of peat production in Estonia, capturing evolution of the technologies, machinery and know-how used in the early years up to today.