Next year, the Ministry of the Environment will invest a record amount of 7.5 million euros into nature conservation to contribute to the protection of natural habitats characteristic of Estonia and of local birds and animals.
“Nature conservation will have a good year and the budget is satisfactory. The status of the environment is an important part in making people feel good and safe in Estonia,” said Minister of the Environment Keit Pentus-Rosimannus.
In the view of the Minister of the Environment, the two main keywords in the area of the environment are nature conservation and modern technologies. “Next year, our long-awaited investment will be seen and ready for use on the streets of Tallinn – modern and more sustainable trams, worth approximately 60 million euros, will reach the streets of Tallinn. The project of replacing street lighting in seven cities will also be finished,” explained Keit Pentus-Rosimannus.
The budget of the Ministry of the Environment for 2015 is 189.1 million euros. When taking into account expenses unrelated to foreign resources, then compared to the previous year, the budget of the Ministry has increased by 3.6%.
In addition to direct nature conservation activities, investments will also be made into cleaning up polluted areas and water bodies as well as repairing the Kukruse mining waste facility. The Red List will also be updated to determine the situation of endangered and less explored species.
To save resources we will help to replace outdated technologies with more modern and more sustainable ones. Next year, the street lighting projects will finish, giving new street lighting to Haapsalu, Jõhvi, Keila, Kuressaare, Paide, Valga and Võru. The entire street lighting system older than 5 years will be replaced.
Clean drinking water to all Estonian residents and the proper cleaning of wastewater is also a continuous focus area. To achieve these goals, 27 million euros will be invested into water projects. In addition, approximately 100 water projects from the previous period are also finishing, one of which is the extensive Narva water project, giving 300 000 people access to cleaner drinking water.
Next year, the streets of Tallinn will also change with the arrival of new trams into which the state has invested approximately 60 million euros. The first tram will arrive already in November of this year, with the remaining 19 trams following in 2015 and 2016. This change is a part of the objective of modernising all tramways and extending it to the airport.
To make nature a good and safe place to be in and make access to information on the surroundings easy, 2 million euros will be invested into the infrastructure of protected areas, for example, into nature paths and observation towers, and approximately 4.5 million euros into environmental awareness. When the number of times Estonians went into nature last year was 1.7 million, then in 2015, we aim to increase that number to 1.9 million.