The Ministry of Defence has provided financial support to nine municipalities which host defense training areas, to a total of €300,000.
The local municipalities in question are at Saku, near Tallinn, Anija, Tapa and Kuusalu, east of Tallinn, Lääne-Harju, to the west of the capital, Narva-Jõesuu in Ida-Viru County, Saarde in southwestern Estonia, and Rõuge and Võru in the southeast of the country.
Defense minister Jüri Luik (Isamaa) says support is primarily aimed at compensating for negative impact on local communities arising from the use of the training areas.
"Without the support and cooperation of local governments, the skills of our servicemen would not be where they are today. This has been ensured through the use of terrain based training, where weapons and other equipment are used," Luik said, according to a ministry press release.
Luik added that national defense involves society as a whole, making training areas within local government boundaries of critical importance to ensuring defense capabilities.
"We consider good cooperation with local governments to be of the utmost importance," he added.
Pursuant to a good intentions agreement concluded in autumn, national defense-related activities go ahead in a spirit of cooperation and communication, taking into account the surrounding environment and residents, balanced with the need to support the country's primary defense capabilities and national defense activities, the ministry said.
During the period 2019–2023 the Ministry of Defence will make annual payments to local governments – in addition to compensating for any damage caused by exercises – amounting to three times the amount of land tax owed in 2019 for the training area within the boundaries of the municipality in question and from which the land tax has already been deducted.
The defense forces training areas within the nine municipalities consist of the Soodla, Männiku, Sirgala, Klooga, Kikepera and Nursipalu training areas and the Tapa close-quarters training area, as well as the central training area.
Editor: Andrew Whyte