Minister sends military training area compensation regulation for approval

Hanno Pevkur.
Hanno Pevkur. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) has sent a draft regulation for approval which would provide compensation for disturbance caused to local municipalities by the activities of military training areas in Estonia.

The regulation refers to all training areas in the country, including the planned Nursipalu expansion in Võru County.

The minister said: "Compared to the current scheme, we are increasing the disruption compensation fund by more than one million euros, i.e. a fourfold rise, from the current €295,000, to €1.35 million."

"It is understandable that we cannot fully evaluate this disruption in financial terms, but the overall goal is to find a balance to mitigate the development and accompanying effects of Nursipalu and other training grounds, and to provide municipalities the certainty that these sums will become an annual addition to their budgets," said Pevkur.

Compensation due for properties outside the expanded training area but close to it, is also to be calculated, up to a total of 4,000m from the perimeter of a training area.

Pevkur said: "For example, a local government with no military training area within it but whose territory may included disturbed by the activities on the practice field would also receive compensation, according to the regulation."

"In addition to direct noise and shock-wave disturbance, people may also be disrupted by movement restrictions relating to the size of a training area," he went on.

Compensation would start to be paid annually from 2024, while its determination would be based on the size of the training zone and the number of nearby housing units as of January 1.

The military training zones in question are those used both by the regular Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) and the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit).

Compensation levels will be determined by February 1 next year at the latest, the minister added, and will be disbursed, as modeled by the regulation, on or by March 31 next year.

Local government would have to a report on the utilization of this compensation by February 1 of the following year at the latest. 

While the new disturbance fee rates will come into force in the new year, the defense minister has also proposed retroactively applying compensation to this year's activity too.

In addition to the annual compensation provided for in the regulation, the three municipalities affected by the expansion of the Nursipalu training area will receive a one-time investment subsidy of €10 million, while as a direct noise mitigation measure, window replacement measure is to be put in place for residents living in the neighborhood of the Nursipalu practice area. 

The Ministry of Defense says it hopes to see the regulation approved at government level by mid-October at the latest.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

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