The exact size compensation to be paid to those affected by the planned expansion of the Nursipalu military training area in Võru County is to be determined, and the recipients informed, through the course of May and June, Ministry of Defense Deputy Secretary General Margit Gross says.
Appearing on ETV morning show "Terevisioon" Tuesday, Gross, whose remit covers legal and administration matters, said that the compensation will be noteworthy, and in the region of hundreds of thousands of euros.
The evaluation process is already underway, she added.
"It is our hope that through May and June, we will be able to let people know what the amount of compensation might be and what offers we can make. It is very difficult at present to state those sums, but as the Minister of Defense also said last week, these will be respectable, and in the hundreds of thousands range," Gross told "Terevisioon".
In any case, the Riigikogu must first pass the bill enabling the expansion, roughly a tripling in size from its current 3,000ha, Gross said.
Gross said she hoped this could happen before the midsummer break (while this runs June 23-24, the Riigikogu breaks up for summer in mid-June and does not return to work until mid-September in any case-ed.) adding it is a necessary prerequisite for the government to make its final decision on the enlargement.
"Another precondition for this decision is also that we conduct a preliminary assessment of the [EU nature conservation] Natura 2000 area, something which is currently ongoing. In parallel, land assessments are also being carried out, as are other impact assessments," Gross continued.
"For example, there are plans in place to replicate noise pollution and to outline the extent of the various effects of the Nursipalu training area expansion; this will also provide the opportunity to discuss later also the compensation mechanisms might be," the deputy secretary general noted.
Twenty-one residential properties lie within the earmarked expansion zone. The government is on May 4 set to discuss compensation levels for owners of these properties, for local municipalities, and for other affected parties.
The changed security situation is the backdrop against which the expansion will take place and will bring the Nursipalu ground up to rough equivalency with its northern Estonian counterpart, the Central Training Area, in Harju County and to permit hosting NATO allied personnel and equipment, as well as those of the Estonian Defense Forces.
Three municipalities are affected by the planned expansion: Võru city, Antsla and Rõuge.
Editor: Andrew Whyte