Compensation for home and landowners around the Nursipalu military training polygon in south Estonia will be discussed at the start of May but it may take up to a year to find solutions.
The training ground at Nursipalu in Võru County is being expanded to make room for the increasing amount of military exercises and allied training taking place in Estonia.
The state has decided to either give land, compensation, or build a new house for those affected. There are three approaches to compensation.
Firstly, the government, municipalities and residents in the surrounding area will start discussions on May 4. The government has its own formula for this.
Secondly, talks will be held with people whose homes will be directly within the expansion area.
"We base compensation on the replacement value of the building," said Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said. "This is assessed by building experts. There are not very many of them in Estonia. But they have done their first assessments so far."
The evaluation process lasts up to five months and residents have the right to ask for an alternative assessment. The first offer will be cash and the second an exchange.
"It is a theoretical possibility that the National Centre for Defense Investments (RIKK) itself builds the person's new place to live /.../ [but] People still prefer to be able to choose. /.../ The assumption is that people will receive financial compensation," Pevkur said.
Chairman of the Riigikogu's National Defense Committee Kalev Stoicescu (Eesti 200) said more discussions are needed.
"I think that those who are directly affected by the project should have the biggest say. There are certainly also many people who are not directly affected but who express their opposition to it. And as with anything, we can't assume that everybody will be 100 percent happy," he said.
Thirdly, an additional measure will cover the Southeast Estonia region more broadly and will look at, for example, cultural subsidies or disturbance fees.
The discussions will span the rest of 2023, Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported, and Pevkur hopes legal issues will be wrapped up by midsummer.
Over the last 20 years, the state has brought approximately 400 properties in relation to defense activities. Agreements were reached in 399 cases.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera