Cost cuts mean no Tallinn fireworks display this New Year's Eve
Savings for 2023 mean municipal fireworks displays will not go ahead as the year changes, Tallinn City Government says.
While in previous years New Year's Eve, fireworks displays have gone ahead, in the face of debate over whether large events are needed, this year there will be no organized display put on by the city, either in central Tallinn or in any of its districts, partly due to savings.
Additionally, Christmas lights will be taken down earlier than usual, by mid-January compared with late February in previous years.
Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said: "The Christmas spirit must still go ahead and the big party will also take place on December 31, but without fireworks," though a concert and a laser show will take place.
The city government approved guidelines for energy savings measures Wednesday, with the aim of saving around €10 million.
An additional reserve of €26 million must be provided in the city budget to cover increases in energy prices as it is, the city says, while the plan approved on Wednesday aims to reduce the capital's costs by 10 percent.
Temperature guidelines would regulate 19-21C inside municipal buildings, compared with 20-21C in schools and 21-23C in kindergartens.
With street lighting, the move so far will be to switch on 15 minutes later, and switch off 15 minutes earlier, to make savings that way, though reduction in lighting overall as happened in the downturn from 2008 is not off the table.
"This also depends on the weather. We already tested it during the pandemic, and it doesn't cause a lot of inconvenience," Kõlvart added, noting that safety will remain in mind and that the lighting of parks, building facades and cycle lanes will remain.
Deputy Mayor Tanel Kiik (Center) said that a faster switch to the use of energy-saving LEDs is preferred to cuts, adding other savings can be made, for instance in pressing back into service around 30 diesel buses, alongside the 350 newer biogas-powered buses already acquired.
Bus, tram and trolleybus routes will not be cut, Kiik added.
An additional request for €20 million, Kiik told ERR newscast "Otse uudistemajast" Wednesday.
Fireworks displays in Estonia had seen opposition over their noise pollution aspects and in particular the stress they can cause to pets.
New Year's Eve has in the past proved a popular time for tourists from the Russian Federation to visit Tallinn, a demographic likely to be almost wholly missing this year after a ban on Russian citizen Schengen tourist visa-holders entering Estonia from Russia.
The pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 also saw scaled-down and/or dispersed new year's events.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte