Tallinn launches pilot project which charges landlords for snow removal

Snowy streets in Tallinn.
Snowy streets in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The city of Tallinn wants to start a snow removal pilot project on Dec. 1 which will see the city remove snow from sidewalks and then send an invoice to landlords.

Currently, landlords are obligated to clean the sidewalks outside their properties, but there is no clear definition regarding how far the sidewalk should be cleaned. Deputy head of the Tallinn Environment and Public Utility Authority Tarmo Sulg said the city's goal is to make it easier for pedestrians to walk in crowded places during snowy days and to produce a consistent result as quickly as possible. 

Sulg said currently the picture in the city is chaotic because there are no rules for when snow should be cleaned from sidewalks so it is done at different times.

"The idea behind the city pilot project is that we would provide the landlords with the service we which we have organized ourselves and allow property owners to join the central sidewalk cleaning service," he explained.

The new plans would mean that once the accumulation of slushy snow on the sidewalk reaches 3 centimeters, or light snow reaches 5 reaches centimeters, the city would start to remove it.

Sulg said 30 properties in the downtown area are now being invited to join the pilot project, and around 10 have begun serious negotiations on the conditions for snow removal.

"Initially, we wanted to see how many property owners would voluntarily agree to come along. Right now, in fact it is very difficult to place such a burden on landlords by law, which means that there is a need to enter into an agreement with each landowner on the council or with the authority of the council. The idea was to find out if there were any interested people. At present, there seems to be a lot of interest in such a service," Sulg said.

Initially, the pilot project space will be located in Central Tallinn, on Estonia puiestee and Rävala puiestee, the streets adjacent to Solaris shopping center and the Bank of Estonia. If all goes well, the city wants to go ahead with the project and expand the areas involved.  


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Editor: Helen Wright

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