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Tallinn charges passive landlords for snow removal

The municipal pilot project starts on 1 December 2019

  • pondělí 11. listopad 2019 15:43
  • Author Plamen Petrov
Medium tallinn winter

The Estonian capital had serious issues with snow clearance last winter, so the city government mulls tightening up its regulations on snow clearing and removal for this winter season. A step in this direction is a pilot project, set to start on 1 December, which will see a city service remove snow from sidewalks and then send an invoice to landlords.

Once the accumulation of slushy snow on the sidewalk reaches 3 centimeters, or light snow reaches 5 centimeters, the city would start to remove it, the new plans, announced 11 November, envisage.

Landlords in Tallinn are under the obligation to clean the sidewalks outside their properties, but there is no clear definition concerning the distance of cleaning efforts. Moreover, currently there are no rules regarding the urgency of snow clearence, so sometimes residents must wait for hours after a snowstorm before their streets become passable.   

Deputy head of the Tallinn Environment and Public Utility Authority Tarmo Sulg, quoted by public broadcaster ERR, said the city's goal is to make it easier for pedestrians to walk in crowded places during snowy days .

"The idea behind the city pilot project is that we would provide the landlords with the service which we have organized ourselves and allow property owners to join the central sidewalk cleaning service," he explained.

A lot of interest in the city service

Initially, the pilot project will cover Central Tallinn and embrace streets adjacent to Solaris shopping center and the Bank of Estonia. If all goes well, the city wants to expand the areas involved. 30 properties in the downtown area are now being invited to join the pilot project, and around 10 have begun serious negotiations on the conditions for snow removal.

"Initially, we wanted to see how many property owners would voluntarily agree to come along. At present, there seems to be a lot of interest in such a service," Sulg said.

Deputy Mayor Kalle Klandorf commented recently that some private owners and residents' associations have so far simply ignored their snow removal obligations. This prompted empowering the Tallinn City municipal police to impose on-the-spot fines.

Further measures announced by the deputy mayor included monitoring snow removal companies more closely, distributing cleaning shifts across different city districts to minimize disruption or avoiding duplication by different companies etc.

As September 24 saw the record broken for the earliest winter snowfall in Estonia, such measures are more than welcome.

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