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    1. Basic principles of act and basic tasks of different plans

Basic principles of the Law of Territorial Planning (LTP)

According to the LTP there are four levels of plans in Lithuania: national plans (approved by Seimas, Government), county plans (approved by the State Government), municipal plans (approved by the local municipality), and plans organised by private and legal entities (for the plans approved by the legal entities). The plans are interactive, i.e. in case a prepared plan differs from another related valid plan, then after official approval when having gone through the necessary procedures, it either becomes a part of the existing valid plan (if the new plan is of the same level of planning) or creates the basis for subsequent preparation of changes of the earlier valid plan. The LTP underlines the widely open character of the planning procedure, agreement nature of plans and the co-operation requirement during the planning process.

Objectives of different plans according to the Law and bylaws

The LTP names the following general objectives of territorial planning:

  1. to balance the development of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania;
  2. to form an adequate, healthy and harmonious environment for living, work and recreation with the aim of creating better living conditions of equal value on the whole territory of Lithuania;
  3. to form a policy of development of residential areas and infrastructure systems;
  4. to reserve (define) territories for the development of infrastructure of residential areas, other spheres of activity, and different types of land;
  5. to protect, use rationally and recover natural resources, natural and cultural heritage, recreational resources among them;
  6. to maintain an ecological equilibrium or to restore it;
  7. to harmonise the interests of natural and legal entities or their groups, also the interests of the public, municipalities and the State with regard to the conditions of the use of the territory and land plots and also with regard to the activity development conditions in this territory;
  8. to promote investments for the social and economic development.

The Detailed Plans Regulations (1996) say that the objectives of detailed plans are: to distinguish and legalise the territory development conditions considering its geographical situation, ecological and monument protection demands and requirements of the third entities.

The comprehensive plan can be prepared not only for the whole but also for a part of the municipality. The Law does not mention about the possibility of preparation of the comprehensive plan for part of the Republic or for part of the county territory. The Law clearly distinguishes comprehensive, detailed and special planning. Special plan can not substitute a comprehensive plan.

    2. Planning obligation, client/producer of plans

National plan

The Law constitutes the obligation of preparing a Comprehensive plan of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania. The Comprehensive plan of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania shall be prepared by the decision of the Government. The Ministry of Environment shall organise the preparation of the plan. The LTP defines that the perspective of a Comprehensive plan (of all levels) shall be for a period of not less than twenty years. Comprehensive plans (all) shall be valid for an unlimited period.

Comprehensive plan of the county (apskritis)

The LTP constitutes the obligation of county plan production. The county governor shall decide to prepare the plan of county. He shall organise the preparation of plan. The Law of Management of the County stipulates that county governor is responsible for planning and development of the territory of the county.

Comprehensive plan of municipality or its part

The LTP constitutes the obligation of municipality Comprehensive plan production. Comprehensive plans of the municipality territory or its separate parts shall be prepared by the decision of the municipal council. The municipal board (the mayor) shall organise the preparation. The Law of Local Self-government stipulates that local municipality is responsible for planning and development of its territory.

Detailed plan

Drawing up of detailed plans of territories indicated in the Comprehensive plan shall be mandatory. Drawing up of detailed plans shall be obligatory prepared not only in this case. Detailed plans must be drawn up if at least one of the following actions is intended:

    1. construction, reconstruction or demolition;
    2. development of plots or groups of plots;
    3. replacement and swapping of plots;
    4. allocation of land for public needs and determination of expropriation need;
    5. use of resources of the entrails of earth, change of the manner of use of water resources;
    6. change of intended purpose of land use, type of land use and character/nature of activity, or land area composition, also management of territory under green areas;
    7. determination or changing of the development regime of a territory or purpose of buildings and constructions;
    8. forest use and reforestation in all forestry properties, except when carried out by owners of up to 3 hectares of forest land (not in the forest massifs), not in protected areas.

The LTP indicates that planning organisers shall finance the planning from the national budget, from the funds of municipalities or private legal and natural entities. The law does not make precision about the sources of financing of the plans.

The LTP defines detailed planning obligations. The right to initiate the planning (to be an organiser of the planning) is assigned by the Law to the landowners, land users, state land manager, board (mayor) of the local municipality.

The LTP does not permit the possibility of the State Government to force a municipality to produce the plan necessary for public interests. It is an obligation of the local municipality itself. The procedure for preparation, co-ordination and approval of detailed plans shall be established by regulations approved by central Government institutions (LTP). Municipalities have right to own the land under conditions stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

Private and legal entities have the right to finance and organise plan production. The LTP does not regulate the financing of plans as it is mentioned above. Other laws are defining it.

Comprehensive and detailed plans may be drawn up by specialists who have been licensed for territorial planning according to the order set by the Government.

    3. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the planning process

The LTP demands assessment of the social, economic and environmental effects of the solutions proposed in the projects of territorial planning documents.

The Law on Assessment of Impact of Planned Economic Activity on the Environment adopted by Seimas on August 15, 1996 determines the EIA process and procedure as well as defines precisely what cases are subject to the EIA. The Law defines the initial EIA and the full EIA. The assessment is to define direct or indirect impact on the environment. The goal of the initial EIA is preliminary assessment whether planned economic activity is possible on the chosen territory. According to this Law the initial EIA is demanded while preparing solutions and project proposals of all territorial planning documents. The goal of the full EIA is to define all possible impacts on the environment, assess the planned activity from the social point of view, choose the measures diminishing the negative impact. It is prepared for the technical projects. The full EIA is either mandatory, if the activity concerned is included in the activities and project list approved in May 1997 by a Government Resolution for the purpose or demanded by the Ministry of Environment in case when Initial EIA shows that there will be substantial environmental effects of the proposed activity and the assessment of it is possible only after full EIA.

     4. Main rules of co-operation and public participation

The LTP declares transparency of territorial planning.

The purpose and dates of preparation of Comprehensive plans, also of national and county level special territorial planning documents shall be publicly announced on the Lithuanian radio and television, in the press, whereas those of detailed plans and special plans of local level – in the local mass media not later than within 10 days from the passing of the decision to draft the plan. The announcement shall specify the stages and procedure of public discussion.

All natural and legal persons of Republic of Lithuania shall have the right of access to the territorial planning documents that are under preparation.

The planning organiser shall acquaint the public with the prepared drafts of territorial planning documents.

A period of at least two months shall be assigned for the presentation to the public of the drafted national, county and municipal Comprehensive plans and special planning documents with at least one month of the period being allotted for public exposition.

At least one month’s period shall be allotted for granting access to drafted detailed plan, with at least a week of the period being assigned to public exposition.

The organisers of planning must send a written notification of drawn up territorial planning document and its consideration procedure to the land owners, whose real estate is planned to be reserved under the detailed plan for key national, county or municipal public construction or infrastructure objects, is planned to be taken for public needs or if it is intended to change its condition, manner or purpose of use.

All natural and legal entities and public organisations concerned with planning, i.e. owners, leaseholders, natural and legal entities, living or having their residence in the planned territory, shall be entitled to submit their proposals with regard to planning solutions. During the public meeting the organiser of planning shall explain why certain proposals were treated as unacceptable.

The initiators of rejected proposals and claims may appeal against the planning document solutions to the body, exercising state supervision of territories under planning. In case the appeal is rejected there, the initiators of rejected proposals and claims have the right to appeal against such a rejection in the court.

    5. Approval/concordance of plans

The LTP defines that the solutions of the Comprehensive plan of the territory of Lithuania shall be co-ordinated with the solutions of the valid county Comprehensive plans. If the Comprehensive plans of counties have not been prepared, the solutions of national plan shall be co-ordinated with the documents of special planning of the national and county level. They shall be approved in writing by county governors and public authorities referred to in the regulations for Comprehensive plans approved by the Government. Such regulations are prepared for local level plans and are under preparation for county level too.

The solutions of county and municipality Comprehensive plans shall be co-ordinated with the solutions of the valid Comprehensive plans of the neighbouring territories and of the higher-level and lower-level plans in a manner prescribed by the LTP and in the above regulations.

Detailed plans (except for forestry property management) shall have concord of all the public services concerned. The municipality chief architect is responsible for that. The procedure for preparing, approving and enforcing forest management plans for forest property are laid down by the Law on Forestry.

All plans are approved after public participation.

    6. Supervision of plans

The LTP and the Regulations on Territorial Planning and Construction Supervision approved by Government regulate the supervision of planning.

Supervision of territorial plans shall be exercised on

  1. plans on the national level – by the State Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate at the Ministry of Environment;
  2. comprehensive plans on the county level – by the Ministry of Environment;
  3. comprehensive planning, detailed planning on the municipal level and on the level of natural and legal entities – by County Governor. The county administration has a special inspection service.

The LTP stipulates that the organiser of planning and the approving authority of the plan shall not be entitled to exercise supervision. In such a case a superior body of state supervision shall exercise the supervision.

Officers of the supervisory body shall be entitled to

  1. verify whether or not the planning documents preparation, co-ordination, public discussion procedure execution complies with the legal demands, whether or not the solutions meet the requirements of the code of territorial planning regulations;
  2. demand that violations of regulations be rectified and code of territorial planning regulations be abided by, also demand that additional co-ordination or expert examination be undertaken, and apply administrative sanctions with regard to persons who refuse to comply with the requirements;
  3. deliver justified conclusions regarding the appropriateness of the document approval to the body, which approves the plan.
  4. resolve disputes arising in the process of planning and during the implementation of plans.

The LTP does not specify more precisely the cases when the supervisor disputes the plan. This is defined by the regulations of territorial planning supervision.

Supervision is mandatory for all levels of plans.

Specialists with diploma in the field and a 3-year service in territorial planning who have completed a special course of training and passed qualifications exam, shall be entitled to work as state inspectorate officers responsible for supervision of territorial planning.

The decision of the body of supervision may be appealed against in court.

    7. Enforcement and validity of plans


Comprehensive plan of the Lithuanian territory shall be approved by Seimas.
During four months after the day of submission for consideration the Seimas shall approve the Comprehensive plan and shall publicly announce its entry into force.

The county governor shall submit the county Comprehensive plan to the Government for approval. During three months from the day of filing the Government shall approve the Comprehensive plan and publicly announce its entry into force.

The municipality board shall submit the municipality Comprehensive plan to the municipality council for approval. During two months from the day of submitting the request the council shall approve the Comprehensive plan and publicly announce its entry into force.

The detailed plan with concord of municipal chief architect’s department is reviewed by the Municipal Government. After that the Municipal Government submits the detailed plan to the Municipal Council for approval.

Validity of plans

Comprehensive plans (of all levels) shall be of unlimited validity.

Validity of detailed plans

  1. plans of land plots or their groups in urbanised and non-urbanised territories shall be valid for the time period provided for by the territory under planning development programme and also until the programme or activity specified therein remains unchanged;
  2. detailed plans of towns, townships and villages shall be of unlimited duration;
  3. detailed plans of non-urbanised territories shall be valid for an unlimited period.

Everybody interested must have access to adopted plans.

The new plan repeals all the previous valid plan solutions contradicting the approved new plan.

    8. Legal impact of different plans

The LTP stipulates that approved Comprehensive plans shall serve as basis for formulating, changing or supplementing documents of comprehensive, special or detailed planning of the corresponding or lower level, and for taking in a prescribed manner the land for public needs, for reserving territories for the state, county and municipality objects intended for public use.

The LTP prescribes the following for detailed plans: Detailed plans are documents entitling natural and legal persons to develop activities on the land plot and make legal basis for preparing construction projects.

The legal impact of plans is not regulated in any other way.

    9. Compensation for damage caused by planning restrictions

If validation of territory’s detailed or Comprehensive plan precludes the use of real estate or its part in the previous manner and for previous purpose, or in essence restricts the use thereof, the user of the property may demand that the organiser of planning should indemnify the damages.

Detailed plans regulations (1996) stipulate that evaluations of state institutions, any other methods, market price or agreement parties establish the quantity of damage.

Disputes concerning indemnification for damages shall be settled in court.

    10. Obligation to review enforced plans

The LTP says that operative planning must be the part of comprehensive planning. Together with the data bank of territorial planning, information shall be accumulated continuously, the order of actions and investment needs shall be defined, programs for the implementation of solutions of the Comprehensive plan shall be formulated. The Lithuanian planning system has not formulated regulations on reviewing of enforced plans in more precision.

     11. Everybody’s building right in rural areas

It does not exist. The building of any auxiliary building named in the special approved by the Government list is possible without the permission of county administration.


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