Pilsen will meet with the municipalities at the Líně airport, where a giant zone is to be created
Next week, the leadership of the Pilsen region will convene negotiations with the municipalities around the Líně military airport, where, according to a week-old government decision, the Pilsen-Líně strategic business park (SPP) should be established. There could be a factory for the production of batteries for electric cars, the so-called gigafactory. The local communities do not agree with the project on 400 hectares, they are afraid of hostels with thousands of foreign workers, problems with transport and water and ecology. The lessees of the airport, who have aircraft in the hangars, are protesting the destruction of the runway.
Opponents of the project want referendums, file criminal charges and complain that the government and the region do not talk to them. The municipalities announce that they will not sell marginal land for the necessary infrastructure, which the state is supposed to support with nine billion crowns from subsidies. They can imagine that the zone would be reduced to less than half, and there would be production with high added value, ČTK found out from municipalities, regions and pilots.
It will be clear whether the SPP will be established after August 31. Until then, Defense Minister Jana Černochová (ODS) must decide whether the army needs the airport as a reserve and strategic one or not. "The government has now decided that it should assess whether the Ministry of Defense (MO) needs it or not, given the international situation. It should communicate this by the end of August. If it were to release it, then the state will give the funds for infrastructure," said the deputy Governor Pavel Čížek (STAN). The region wants to ensure that everything is properly discussed with the municipalities, so that they are involved in all proceedings.
"The fact that there should be an industrial zone sooner or later was (decided) in the principles of territorial development in 2008. Even then it was properly discussed with the municipalities and the region then approved the principles," said Čížek. The area is given, the next thing depends on whether a part or the whole is used.
"We want to start negotiations with all municipalities next week, set up a form of cooperation and establish a working group where the municipalities should have representatives," said governor Rudolf Špoták (Pirates). He will invite the representative for the preparation of SPP Edvard Kožušník, deputy of the Ministry of Industry (MPO), to the meeting. He wants to meet regularly with municipalities and aero clubs. According to the governor, the MPO should be the main coordinator before, according to the MoD government's resolution, the land would be transferred to the region.
The working group should include representatives of the ministries of industry, defense, finance and transport, the region and surrounding municipalities. According to Špoták, if the team does not establish the MPO, it will initiate its establishment by the end of August. The vision of the business park is at the beginning. "Neither the study nor the project is finished, the complicated property relationships have not been resolved. If the Ministry of Defense is unable to resolve them, it is possible that the entire project will fail," he said. Since 2013, the resort has been in litigation with a company that, according to the army, is using the area illegally.
The mayors of the surrounding municipalities do not agree that the government's resolution envisages more than twice the area of the business park than was previously discussed. Originally, the zone was supposed to have 180 hectares.
"I am terribly disappointed by what the region has given as comments without consulting us, that they will bypass us and perhaps build a housing estate in Lhota and similar things," said Dobřan mayor Martin Sobotka (Aktivní Dobřany), who also sent four other municipalities to various places protest letter. "Deputy Kožušník promised us that he would invite us to the meeting, which should take place between August 9 and 20," he said. Sobotka thinks that the Ministry of Defense will eventually say that the airport is needed and the preparation of the business park will end.
There will be a representative of Pilsen in the working group, who was promoted there by the speaker of Pilsen and the Minister of Culture Martin Baxa (ODS), but the municipalities would also like someone from the regional association of towns and villages to be there. According to Sobotka, there is resistance from all the surrounding municipalities against the 400-hectare zone. "Everyone would basically take it if a gigafactory was built on 180 hectares and the rest of the industrial areas would be written off," he said.
Pilsen Mayor Pavel Šindelář (ODS) said that the region should start communicating with Pilsen and other municipalities about its vision of the territory. "If that doesn't happen, it will be more complicated with land that belongs to municipalities," he said.
Aeroclubs and flight schools will deploy on Friday morning to protest the planned destruction of the runways of the 56 aircraft currently in hangars. "We want the airport to remain preserved, to not demolish the airport runway, which is fully functional, and preferably to extend it slightly," said Tereza Vlková on behalf of the aircraft operator. If a gigafactory were to be built on adjacent plots, they can coexist with it.
"Last year, 19,563 national and international movements were registered there, and it continues to increase year-on-year," said Marek Javorský, who filed a criminal complaint against an unknown perpetrator due to the deliberate concealment of busy traffic and proposed a local investigation. They claim that 50 local planes and other foreign machines land and take off there. In addition, 70 non-aeronautical companies and entrepreneurs operate there, the aviation department ranks and airports are also used by the army and NATO.
"Roughly 200 hectares of land are available immediately without having to interfere with the airport's operations," said Michal Švihla, representative of the operators of five flight schools, aero clubs and pilots from the airport. According to him, the airport is strategic and important for the entire region in case of natural disasters and crisis situations. "It is the only airport of this size between Prague and Nuremberg," he said.
Volkswagen is considering gigafactories. It is to come up to 120 billion CZK. They also has Hungary, Slovakia and Poland in there sights, and according to Špoták, Líně doesn't have to choose. The specific location is to be approved after the holidays. South Korean LG is considering a similar investment in Central Europe.