On June 17th the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) passed changes to the law that will result in the merger of the Environmental Board and the Environmental Inspectorate on 1 January 2021. The merged agency will go by the name of the Environmental Board.
The Environmental Board and the Environmental Inspectorate already work closely together, but the merger will allow them to operate even more efficiently.
“One of our main aims in merging the two agencies is to make it easier for citizens to communicate with the state,” explained Minister of the Environment Rene Kokk. “The Environmental Board and the Environmental Inspectorate offer a lot of services that dovetail and can be more efficiently organised under one roof. The synergy stemming from nature protection, environmental use and supervision will be able to be used in the best possible way in the merged agency for the protection of our environment and to reduce bureaucracy.”
Riho Kuppart, the director of the Environmental Board, says that the thorough preparations made by the Ministry of the Environment, the Environmental Board and the Environmental Inspectorate have given belief to all involved that the merged team will create a strong and trustworthy organisation. “The decision the Riigikogu made today confirms that the hard work we and our partners have been doing since mid-2018 to prepare for the merger has paid off,” he said. “Now we have just over six months left to put the finishing touches to an environmental competence centre that’s professional, well-functioning and client-friendly.” In addition to developing services aimed at clients, Kuppart considers it important that the merged agency ensures a good and motivating working environment for its employees.
Starting from 2021 the Environmental Board will be based in Pärnu, but will continue to have offices in every county to remain close to its clients and partners and to enable its teams to work as close to home as possible.
The merger of the Environmental Board (which implements environmental use, nature protection and radiation safety policy) and the Environmental Inspectorate (which conducts environmental supervision) is part of the national reform plans approved by the government. Not only will the merger result in synergy, but also in savings, primarily through the more efficient use of vehicles and real estate.