Environmental monitoring and supervision and preparedness for environmental emergencies are the three important areas supported from the ERDF and through the investment plan in the period 2007-2013.
ERDF: development of infrastructure for ensuring preparedness for environmental emergencies.
The support provided in this area will increase Estonia's capability for discovering, localising and eliminating sea pollution incidents, reducing the pollution load caused by emergency situations and improving the capacity for rescue operations in the event of major accidents, industrial and transport accidents. The grants are channelled through the investment plan to two beneficiaries: the Rescue Board and the Police and Border Guard Board.
Under the financing decisions made in 2009, the Rescue Board is able to procure various equipment and technology, which will help increase the rescue services' capability for fighting forest fires, oil and chemical spills and the consequences of natural disasters. For instance, protective equipment as well as equipment necessary for fire extinguishing and pollution capture works will be procured and a bird hospital for taking care of birds damaged in oil spills will be established. In addition, the Kose logistical centre will be completed by 2012, allowing the Rescue Board to respond to emergencies more urgently.
The Police and Border Guard Board will use the financing received to procure a multifunctional pollution control boat. The increasing frequency of sea pollution incidents in Estonian waters shows that the national pollution control capability has to be developed, as our neighbours are not always able to come promptly to our aid. With regard to oil spills, response speed is of utmost importance, because when the pollution reaches the coast the damage to the environment is hugely amplified. Oil tankers with a volume of up to 150,000 tonnes sail the Baltic Sea and an accident with such a tanker would mean a major environmental catastrophe for the entire Baltic Sea region.
ERDF: development of environmental supervision.
As the description says, the aim of this grant is to increase the environmental supervision capability. The beneficiary determined under the investment plan is the Environmental Supervision Authority, which has already received support under financing decisions for the development and implementation of information system OKAS, which enables the use of an electronic handling environment, thus speeding up the handling process. The funds will also be used for procuring special-purpose vehicles and vehicles with special equipment (both for water and land transport) as well as for renovating the infrastructure.
ERDF: development of environmental monitoring.
The grant is aimed at ensuring the monitoring of the living environment in accordance with the common European principles, as well as the regular collection and publication of environmental information. There are two beneficiaries under the investment plan: the Estonian Meteorology and Hydrology Institute (EMHI) and the Environmental Information Centre.
By now, a positive financing decision has been made with regard to EMHI's application to modernise the Estonian environmental monitoring network. The project includes the development of the infrastructure onto which the monitoring equipment could be installed. After that the equipment will be installed and the monitoring data will be automatically collected to a central database. Specialists will also be trained in the use of the technology and systems. In addition to increasing the efficiency of weather forecasting, the project will also facilitate the collection of more data about the quality of ambient air, the conditions of water bodies, the thinning of the ozone layer and the climate change.