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    1. Statistical data

Area north-south distance east-west distance forest of the total territory arable land swamps and bogs
65 300 km2 263 km 366 km 30% 45% 23%

Population density urban population rural
3 700 800 57 people/km2 68% 32%

    2. Administrative organisation

Lithuania is democratic parliamentary republic. It has a three-level administration system: state, counties and municipalities. County government is appointed by the central Government. Local municipal council members and a mayor are elected. There are two forms of land ownership in Lithuania: state and private land ownership. Municipalities have right of acquiring the land (except that one of agricultural designation) into their ownership for the purposes of construction and exploitation of buildings and constructions needed for performing their direct activity. The Constitutional Law defines order, conditions and restrictions for acquiring such plots of land.

Lithuanian Law on Territorial Planning defines that organisers of planning are: for the national comprehensive plan responsible institution – Ministry of Environment; national level special plans may be prepared by national institutions, county (apskritis) comprehensive and special plans organiser is the county governor, local municipality comprehensive special plans and detailed plans organiser is the mayor of local municipality. Natural and legal entities have a right to be organisers of detailed plans. All of them are acting within the framework of their competence stipulated by the laws and other legal acts. So there are four levels of planning: national, regional, local municipalities and natural and legal entities and three arts of territorial plans: comprehensive, special and detailed plans. This law provides regulation of the comprehensive and detailed planning. It also gives general regulation for special planning.


On the national level responsibility for the territorial planning, forming its national policy and supervising implementation thereof lies within the Ministry of Environment (from 1998, after administrative reform, when the Ministry of Environment Protection and the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development have been reorganised into the Ministry of Environment). Its task is overall regulation, co-ordination and supervision of planning as well as performing the functions of an organiser of national plans.


There are 10 counties in Lithuania, the biggest of which is the county of the metropolitan Vilnius region (apskritis) with its 894 289 inhabitants (1999/01/01) and smallest Tauragė county with a population of 129 825. The counties range from 9 650,3 km2 (apskritis of Vilnius) to 3 874,4 km2 by territory (apskritis of Tauragė).

County is a state institution, not regional self-government.

County government is responsible for planning and development of the county territory, supervision of the planning activities of local governments and participation in national planning, as well as implementing national policies.


Until 1999/12/21 when Seimas (the Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the new amendment to the Law of the Territorial Administrative Units (No.VIII-1492), there were 56 local municipalities in Lithuania, including 12 urban local municipalities and 44 local municipalities of administrative districts (rajonas). According to the new law stipulations adopted by Seimas, there will be 60 local municipalities (among them - 12 urban as previously) when its demands are implemented (i.e. after elections to the councils of the local municipalities since March 19, 2000. Both municipalities (urban and those of administrative districts) have the same rights and responsibilities according to the law.

The task of municipalities is planning and development of their territories, organising preparation of comprehensive, special and detailed plans, securing their implementation. In the role of partners they are expected to take part in the planning process of the county territory.

    3. Brief overview of planning legislation

In 1938 the Law of Land Management of Settled Places came into force in Lithuania. It functioned until the occupation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union in 1940.

During the Soviet period there was no law on planning regulation, just norms and rules which did not have the power of law. Planning was centralised; local governments were not authorised to perform the task of the organiser of this activity. All plans were produced in state-owned institutes. Local authorities were responsible for an approval of the plans before final confirmation. Plans were for official administrative use.

After Lithuania regained independence in 1990 the “Temporary Rules of Planning of the Territories” were adopted in 1993. Preparation of Territorial Planning Law started in 1994. The Law was adopted by Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on December 12, 1995 and enforced January 1, 1996. The Law is supported by later subsequent rules and regulations. The regulations were prepared by the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development and later, after administrative Governmental reform - by the Ministry of Environment and confirmed by the Minister or by the Government.

Structure of the Law on Territorial Planning by Parts and Chapters:

Part I. Comprehensive Provisions
Part II. Territorial Planning

  1. Comprehensive Planning
  2. Special Planning
  3. Detailed Planning
  4. Regulation of Territorial Planning
Part III. Transparency of Territorial Planning
Part IV. State Supervision of Territorial Planning
Part V. Indemnification for Damages and Liability for Violations of the Law


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