The government has decided to allocate one-off investment support in the volume of €10 million to four local governments most directly affected by the expansion of the Nursipalu Training Area. It was also decided to increase the permanent nuisance benefit paid to 16 municipalities by €1,35 million.
The cabinet on Monday approved Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur's military training area development compensation measures package to up local governments' benefits and pay four municipalities directly affected by the Nursipalu Training Area expansion a one-off sum of €10 million in compensation. The Defense Ministry said in a press release that €200 million in defense investments will be reaching Võru County.
The package is made up of three measures.
Local governments will be eligible for larger permanent nuisance benefits calculated based on the land area of the disturbance and the number of dwellings there. Local governments that host a training area in their territory or are located up to four kilometers from a training area, depending on the nature of the disturbance, are eligible for the benefit if the area in question has registered dwellings.
These conditions will now apply to 16 local governments: Alutaguse Municipality, Anija Municipality, Antsla Municipality, Kadrina Municipality, Kiili Municipality, Kuusalu Municipality, Lääne-Harju Municipality, City of Narva-Jõesuu, City of Pärnu, Rõuge Municipality, Saarde Municipality, Saku Municipality, Tapa Municipality, Toila Municipality, Võru Municipality and the City of Võru. The annual total sum will grow from the recent €292,000 to €1.35 million.
The one-off €10-million compensation measure tied to the Nursipalu Training Area expansion also considers the number of affected residents and the area of the training area. Võru Municipality is looking at €3 million, Rõuge Municipality €2 million, Antsla Municipality €2 million and the City of Võru €3 million.
In addition, local residents will be eligible for investment support with a 50-percent cost-sharing component to help offset disturbances caused by the training area's nearness (mainly noise and vibration) by reconstructing buildings. The measure's extent and details will be agreed with local governments in the near future.
Minister Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said that the package increases and perpetuates compensation first introduced in 2019.
"The compensation measures reflect mutual balance and responsibility between the central and local governments. The benefits will lend the latter more certainty and help compensate for disturbances caused by training areas," the defense minister remarked.
Pevkur added that Estonia will be sending €200 in defense investments to Võru County in the coming years for the largest single investment in Southeastern Estonia over such a short period.
The defense minister also introduced principles for acquisition of private plots. Fair compensation shall be ensured based on the Acquisition of Immovables in Public Interest Act (KAHOS). An agreement will be sought with the property owner to make sure the person's situation does not deteriorate as a result of the acquisition.
"The value of developed properties will be based on cost of replacement or reconstruction if that is not possible. When determining the compensation value of properties complete with residential buildings, it is possible to calculate it without considering depreciation," said Tambet Tõnisson, head of state assets for the Center for Defense Investment (RKIK).
Later, in an interview with ERR, Defense Minister Pevkur said the National Center for Defense Investments will make an offer to the individual based on the valuations provided by competent real estate appraisers. "And, based on this offer, the person has the option to go for a different price offer, if desired, and then an effort will be made to reach an individual agreement with each person. Alternatively, perhaps a tailored solution will be necessary to find an agreement. We will approach each case individually," Pevkur emphasized.
"The difficult security situation requires Estonia's defensive capacity to be boosted in which military training areas are a part. We want to strike a balance between developing Nursipalu and other training areas and alleviating relevant effects," Pevkur said. "We are very grateful to local residents for their cooperation and contribution to national defense."
Editor: Marcus Turovski