Sirgala military training area in Ida-Viru County will more than double in size in the coming years after the government green-lit the project this week.
The training ground will expand from the current 2,790 hectares to 7,758.7 hectares and has been included in the municipality's comprehensive plan since 2005.
Sirgala has been in operation since 2008 but is currently unable to provide the necessary military training, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
"The expansion is fully covered by state land, and we will make use of the former oil shale quarry. No private property will remain within the expansion area," said Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur (Reform).
"We have done this through the normal planning process. I would like to thank all of the local authorities and residents, who are cooperating with us and are understanding."
The extension of the training area will allow Estonia to improve capabilities that it is currently lacking, the ministry said.
The area is used to organize live-fire exercises for platoon-sized units, the firing of anti-tank weapons, mortars and heavy machine guns, and armored vehicle training.
However, it is not possible to carry out combat maneuvers with mechanized units that can improve Estonia's military capabilities. Mechanized units are not able to fire while moving within the current training area.
Locals in the town of Narva-Jõesuu will receive a three-fold increase in disturbance compensation. It will also affect Toila and Alutaguse municipalities.
Due to the need to pay disturbance compensation, the plan needed to be fixed by a decision of the government.
Editor: Helen Wright