Land use - National Responses (Latvia)
The necessity to improve spatial planning systems and increase local government capacity in spatial planning is recognised by the Spatial Planning System Development Concept. The spatial plan at local municipality level is the most important planning document for influencing future land-use trends.
The Spatial Planning System Development Concept also states that it is essential to define the spatial structure of state territory in order to ensure a sustainable settlement structure and polycentric development. This will also prevent urban sprawl. Latvia has developed Sustainable development strategy to 2030 which includes a spatial development perspective.
Substantial legislation has also been developed on land-use and ownership. After the re-establishment of Latvian independence, land reform aimed to restitute property rights to former owners, or their heirs, and to establish a legal basis for private land ownership. Several legislative acts will come into effect in 2011 to conclude the land reform process. This will significantly ease development activities involving land expropriation and land transactions.
The Ministry of Agriculture manages EU and state support and initiates legislative changes in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, food and veterinary science, rural development and fisheries. The Ministry has developed a rural development programme for Latvia (2007–2013) which focuses on the following priorities:
- educated and creative individuals
- technological excellence and flexibility of businesses
- scientific research and development.
The Land Policy Guidelines for 2008–2014 recognise the necessity to coordinate policy relating to land issues across different sectors. The objective of the Land Policy Guidelines is to ensure sustainable land use and protection, including the protection of the soil, forests and waters, and to prevent land degradation. The resulting Land Management Concept is developed. It covers principles of land use, the rights and responsibilities of land-users, the competence of the state and local municipalities in land management, landscape protection, planning and management and measures to prevent land degradation. It is envisaged to include these topics in Land Management Law which is currently being developed.
- The Land Management Concept (draft) [in Latvian]
Available at: <http://www.mk.gov.lv/lv/mk/tap/?dateFrom=2009-01-06&dateTo=2010-01-06&vss&text=zemes+p%C4%81rvald%C4%ABbas&org=0&area=0&type=0>
- The Land Policy Guidelines 2008–2014 [in Latvian]
Available at: <http://polsis.mk.gov.lv/view.do?id=2812>
- REPUBLIC OF LATVIA, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE (2009) Agriculture and rural areas of Latvia 2009
Available at: <http://www.zm.gov.lv/doc_upl/EN_Zinojums(2).doc>
- The Rural Development Programme for Latvia 2007–2013
Available at: <http://www.zm.gov.lv/doc_upl/RDP_final(2).pdf>
- The Spatial Planning System Development Concept [in Latvian]
Available at: <http://polsis.mk.gov.lv/docSearch.do?searchtype=fs&clearnav=true&doc _card=11&depositorInst=52&doc_kind=12&area=null>
- REPUBLIC OF LATVIA THE STATE LAND
SERVICE Annual Land Report of Latvia, 2008
Available at: <http://www.vzd.gov.lv/home/publications/?id=270>