Rail Baltic wants private land from 600 owners in Estonia ({{commentsTotal}})

Approximately 600 landowners will have to give up parts of their property for the construction of the international Rail Baltic railway. The Estonian portion of the planned railway is to pass through three counties — Harju, Rapla and Pärnu — and cover 210 kilometers, or 130 miles.

The 210 kilometers of planned tracks will cross 600 plots of private land as well as approximately 50 lots of municipal and state land, and the entire planned railway will require the sacrifice of a total of 500 hectares, or 1,235 acres, of private land, reported Estonian newspaper Maaleht (link in Estonian).

The state has promised to purchase the land at market price, and the market value of each individual piece of property will be determined by certified real estate appraisers.

Negotiations with land owners can begin as soon as the preliminary design documentation is complete. The latter will be completed in Pärnu County first, as 80 percent of the land to fall under the railway's planned route in that county belongs to the state.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications' Kristjan Kaunissaare and Andres Lindemann, who are involved in the planning of the construction of the new railway for Rail Baltic, are expecting negotiations to be the most difficult in Harju County, where land is the most expensive.

In order to facilitate speedier expropriation of land, the ministry has introduced amendments to a number of laws, including the Land Consolidation Act and the Immovables Expropriation Act. After the basis for expropriation has been approved in all judicial instances and entered into force, negotiations over expropriation fees will begin anew.

Rail Baltic coordinator Kristjan Kaunissaare stated that if the courts have identified the basis for expropriation, this decision will enter into force and the state can begin construction on the railway.

The owners of land which will fall in the way of the new rail route are not very optimistic regarding the payment of fair compensation, however, and are moreover concerned that the railway will negatively affect their property values and make life more uncomfortable.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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