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Minister of the Environment: cleaning of the border has to continue at the current pace

Keskkonnaminister Mati Raidma tutvus Eesti-Vene kontrolljoonel käivate metsatöödega.
Keskkonnaminister Mati Raidma tutvus Eesti-Vene kontrolljoonel käivate metsatöödega.
Today, Mati Raidma, Minister of the Environment, called a round-table in Võru county to discuss the issues associated with cleaning the temporary border line between Estonia and Russia and to inspect the forest cleaning operations at the border in Misso rural municipality. Approximately one tenth of the total area has been cleaned. 
Representatives of the State Forest Management Centre (SFMC), the Environmental Board and the Land Board provided the Minister of the Environment with an overview of the current operations to clean the border area. “Estonia needs to clean a total of 270 hectares of land at the border, which requires very intense efforts from the SFMC. From mid-November, work continues 24 hours a day to maximise the use of available time,” said Mati Raidma, Minister of the Environment. The size of the currently cleaned border area amounts to 24 hectares. 
The cleaning of the temporary border line started on state-owned land and negotiations with private landowners are underway. According to Kristjan Kund, representing the company Toftan Metsad OÜ that owns nearly 7 km of land next to the border, the state’s offer on how to organise cooperation was perfectly reasonable. Landowners can decide whether they would like to take responsibility for the cleaning or leave it to the SFMC. The Minister of the Environment also asked about avoiding environmental disturbance during forest cleaning operations. ”Cleaning the border area is an important national security concern, but we should not forget sensitive natural areas. The SFMC and the Environmental Board are engaged in close cooperation on this,” the Minister said. 
After the border strip is cleaned, it will require regular maintenance. The Minister of the Environment believes that creating additional jobs in Põlva and Võru counties is very important in terms of regional policy.
Based on the mandate received from the Government, the SFMC started the cleaning operations at the temporary border line between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation in October. The work will be done on 270 hectares of land. Cleaning of the entire area will result in extraction of approximately 16,500 cubic metres of wood. The cost of the works is 700,000 euros, which is to be covered with the revenue from the sale of wood. The deadline for the completion of work is 1 June 2015. 


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