The land is located along the Piibe highway, which connects Tallinn and Tartu, while the Soodla Reservoir, which supplies part of Tallinn’s drinking water, is part of the planned training area. The ministry has started to prepare the special support plan.
Three separate training areas are planned, including to be used as artillery firing positions which will aim at targets placed on the EDF Central Training Area, also in Harju County.
Barriers, signal masts and information panels must be installed; naturally the training area is closed to the public during the exercises.
Link roads will be constructed to connect the Piibe and Narva highways and the central training area.
The proposed training area will extend approximately 6 km from north to south and 10 km from east to west, while its eastern part will lie within the Põhja Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve, an EU NATURA 2000 area.
Some tree cutting will be required to accommodate the armored vehicles, Miiko Peris, who heads the ministry’s innovation department, told ERR, although at this stage he was unable to say whether and how the works would affect the natural area.
He said: “For this reason, we assess all impacts holistically, to create a picture that will allow us to say what is needed and where, and what is not. This is indeed the case. that we need the area for armored maneuvers; should it concern the nature area and to what extent, I cannot rush events.”
When creating the plan, the presence of the Soodla Reservoir, which is a key source for Tallinn’s water supply, and is also very actively used by residents of the capital and Harju County as a recreation area, will also be taken into account, he added.
“In this field, we cooperate with [private sector water supplier] Tallinna Vesi and we briefed them on the next steps in preparing the plan.”
“We expect proposals from them during the preparation of the plan and the same from other interested parties,” Peris continued.
Eight private properties and three buildings will remain within the training area boundaries as planned, and negotiations over their ultimate fate are currently underway.
The ministry hopes to release the draft special plan in the early months of 2023, with the preliminary environmental impact assessment report to follow in the summer of 2024, Peris added. “These timelines may be subject to change as work progresses, but we are evaluating next steps within this timeframe.”
The basis of the detailed plan for the training area (in Estonian) is here.
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