The Estonian planning system allots the main responsibilities for planning activities to the local level, whereas the regional level (county) is rather weak. That implies a gap of cooperation on the regional level, leading to dispersed urban development in suburban municipalities and ongoing urban sprawl in the vicinity of Tartu. This development appears contrary to the concept of low-density urbanised space as formulated in the National Spatial Plan Estonia 2030+ (NSP) as the central spatial development concept for Estonia and also to a compact and intensive city development as formulated in the Master Plan of Tartu.
Since Tartu has no relevant big industries, the main employers are the municipality and the university, energy related challenges occur from transport and residential (district) heating. The modal split shows big differences between journeys within Tartu and journeys between Tartu and its vicinity. While the first shows a high share of public transport and walking, the latter includes a high share of car use, especially in work related travelling. This is closely related to the issue of ongoing urban sprawl and increasing car ownership. Although the Tartu City Transport Development Plan 2012-2020 points very clearly at the weaknesses in the transport system of Tartu, the plan is not addressing cross-border issues, like e.g. regional commuting.
The highest share of emissions is allotted to energy production. In terms of energy sources Estonia is very much dependent on imports like oil and gas and the Estonian electricity production is to more than 90 % based on Estonian oil shale. Thus, efforts towards higher energy efficiency at least on the national level are rather driven by ambitions to decrease fuel dependency than merely efficiency objectives. That illustrates the need for a transition of the energy supply and generation system in Estonia from two forces: decreasing fuel dependency and a shift to an increasing use of renewable resources.
Document type: Book
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