Additional purchases of land in the area of Estonia's eastern border will cost approximately €500,000, Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) told the Riigikogu on Monday, noting that as much has been spent on land acquisitions already.
"About €470,000 has been spent thus far," Anvelt said in response to a question from an opposition Free Party MP during question time in the Riigikogu. "€348,000 of this on transactions and €121,000 on costs related to transactions, meaning land valuation, surveys, and notary services. Altogether €939,757 has been budgeted for the acquisition of land."
It appears from the minister's response that the Estonian government intends to purchase an additional 184 hectares of land along the border at an average price of ten cents per square meter.
"Considering that these 184 hectares are divided along a strip 136 kilometers long, we are asking for 13.5 square meters of additional land per meter of the border," he said. How much additional land is needed differs depending on location — from 30 square meters per meter of the border in some places to none in others; the latter is true for areas in which the border runs on cultivated farmland, where the existing 10-meter-wide border strip would suffice.
According to Anvelt, additional land is needed primarily to prevent the danger that trees growing too close to the border will damage the border infrastructure when falling down as a result of high winds. Additional land is also needed for the construction and maintenance of border infrastructure.
The minister said that a ten-meter-wide corridor has been cleared of trees along parts of the border running through forest, creating a wind tunnel between the tree fronts on the Estonian and Russian sides.
"A wind tunnel makes it easier for storm winds to fell trees on the edges of the border corridor, which are 15 to 20 meters high on average," he added.
The cost of one such case of damage, including the cost of equipment damage and labor costs, could amount to up to €15,000-20,000, Anvelt said, noting that unless they are the landowner, the government has no legal basis for having a wider strip cleared of trees.
Editor: Aili Vahtla