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Revised everyman's right clarifies the free movement in the nature

01.08.2014
Revised everyman's right clarifies the free movement in the nature
Revised everyman's right clarifies the free movement in the nature

The new everyman's right will come into effect as of today, i.e. the rules addressing behaviour while being on private-owned land.

The new act does not bring fundamental changes but clarifies some most complicated issues, for example, usage of coastal routes and homogenises everyman's rules, fills previous caps and evens out imbalances.
The most general rule for a person who wants to stay on a privately owned land is, that the owner has to give permission for it. Nevertheless, the following subparagraph mitigates the general rule, according to which the permission of an owner is assumed when the owner has not limited or marked the territory in a way which suggests willingness to limit access of strangers or this willingness does not become apparent through other circumstances (e.g., designations) and if the land is not a yard area. Thus, territories without markings and limitations are accessible in every way and also picking berries and mushrooms in allowed, but if there is a sign "Private property" is this certainly a case which suggests owner's willingness to informed/limit the stay of strangers on his land and then it is appropriate to ask owner’s permission.

If previous law did not allow staying on a private property after the sunset, then the new law does not regulate it. Bivouacking and camping is also allowed, although if camping plans are longer than 24 hours, then owner's permission is required.

Also, unless the owner has not specified otherwise, everyone is allowed to pick berries, mushrooms, nuts, fallen branches and other similar natural products. However, breaking branches and peeling bark of growing trees is prohibited.

General rights and obligations applying to a person who moves around the nature are collected into general part of the new environmental code. Previously a hiker had to look for references from property laws, Water Act, Nature Conservation Act, Fisheries Act and from elsewhere. Previously mentioned acts still specificity more complicated cases, for example, how to behave in protected areas, moving on water or while fishing. General part of the Environmental Code is completely new feature in Estonian legal practice.
 

(01.08.2014)

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