In order to preserve and protect the unique nature of Estonia, a total of 6.05 million euros were invested in the conservation areas within a year. To make being in nature even more attractive, various hiking and study trails were maintained in a total extent of 533 km in 2014.
Minister of the Environment Mati Raidma commented that the ending year in nature conservation was successful for the Ministry of the Environment. Many important activities were carried out for the amounts invested in this area – conservation management plans, practical nature conservation works and the improvement of fish habitats on significant rivers were funded. Raidma added that the most important decision of the year was made in November, when the Government decided to form the Nabala-Tuhala Nature Reserve. “Now we can be certain that the sensitive water regime there, including the underground rivers and the unique Tuhala Witch’s Well, as well as marsh and forest habitats and the habitats of protected and endangered species are protected,” the Minister of the Environment noted.
This year marks the beginning of the new European Union budgetary period, which enables us to invest a total of 400 million euros in the environment, with 100 million euros in nature conservation, over the next seven years.
The framework of environmental charges was one of the biggest issues that was developed. The Government approved the extraction right of non-renewable mineral resources and the water extraction charges for 2016–2025 with its regulations. In order to determine the oil shale charge, the Government decided to develop a value-based charging model for the future, which would take both the environmental load and the revenue earned from the use of resources into account.
The draft of the National Development Plan for Oil Shale Use for 2016–2030 has also been completed, framing the main directions of oil shale mining and use. The general objective of the development plan is to ensure as environmentally friendly and economically effective mining and use of oil shale as possible, by ensuring the sustainable development and supply of oil shale reserve and thereby reducing the negative environmental impact. The development plan also recommends to preserve 20 million tonnes as the level of annual mining volume.