Tallinn deputy mayor in charge of the environment and public works Vladimir Svet told ERR that easing the professional requirements of plow drivers could be considered should snowy winters continue, as qualified drivers are currently hard to find.
Some parts of Tallinn have seen half a meter of snow in the last two days, with snow clearing machinery working under full steam.
"If yesterday, we had 100 units of machinery out there, it is nearing 150 today, with the addition of snow loaders and other machinery necessary for moving snow out of the city," Svet said. "We are working hard, trying to pay special attention to sidewalks," the deputy mayor added.
Svet described the weather conditions as challenging for the city. "We are staying in touch with contractual partners. We cannot describe the situation as satisfactory in all parts of the city, which is why our inspectors are going around and checking on our partners' activities."
Svet said that problems mostly occur on inner-district streets that are usually full of parked cars. "That is why we ask drivers to respect temporary no-parking signs in a situation where we need to clear out the snow to make the street drivable again and make sure parking would once again be possible."
The deputy mayor said that while the city has enough machinery to clear snow, labor is another matter.
"I believe we will know whether our current fleet is enough once winter ends. The situation today is that we have contracts in place for all streets, including sidewalks, that cover availability of machinery. Rather, the question is whether we have enough people to drive them," Svet explained.
He said that while the unit in charge of clearing Kadriorg Park has six multifunctional tractors, it needs 15 qualified plow drivers to be able to work uninterrupted and that people who fit the job description are not easy to find.
Svet added that requirements for drivers of plows and other pieces of snow clearing machinery could be relaxed.
"Talking about problems, only a person with a special T-category license can currently operate a snow clearing machine. If we are to have more snowy winters, looking not just out the window but also at last winter, perhaps the Riigikogu could consider easing those requirements for tractor drivers. Otherwise, we will not be able to find enough of them. We seem to be on top of things right now, but time will tell," Vladimir Svet said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski