Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Salpa Line structures to be transferred to landowners

24 Apr 2018, 02:05 ( 11 Months ago) | updated: 24 Apr 2018, 11:16 ( 11 Months ago)

DF Report
Photo Salpa Line/Ksenia Serova.

The Ministry of Finance has taken the decision to transfer the structures of the Salpa Line fortification chain to the respective landowners and will cancel the restrictions on the right of use of these sites.

The Ministry on Monday at a press briefing pointed out detail about the transfer of the Salpa Line structures at the Salpa Line Museum in Miehikkälä, said an official press release.

The opening words at the event were delivered by Minister of Local Government and Public Reforms Anu Vehviläinen, who is the minister responsible for Senate Properties.

The Salpa Line, or its official name, Suomen Salpa, is a bunker line on the eastern border of Finland built during the Interim Peace between the Winter War and the Continuation War to defend Finland against a possible Soviet invasion.

Transferring the structures to the landowners will give the landowners authority over the sites and the same opportunities to develop the sites for tourism, leisure or other purposes. The ownership of the land along the Salpa Line was returned to the landowners during the 1960s and 1970s.

A report on the Salpa Line has been produced by Senate Properties, in which all the real estate and sites where the right of use is restricted have been identified in each municipality. The report served as background information for the decision to cancel the restrictions. It also represents a continuation of the Finnish Heritage Agency’s extensive inventory work on the Salpa Line carried out in 2009–2012.

Restricting rights of use means that the state is entitled to retain the fortifications and underground chambers and to use them for storage purposes, among other things. The Salpa Line today no longer has the kind of defence-related purpose that would require the use of individual sites to be restricted.

“Instead of being used for defence needs, the Salpa Line’s future lies in its historical value and in its use for tourism or leisure purposes. The restrictions on use have acted as obstacles or slowed the progress with such projects,” said Minister of Local Government and Public Reforms Anu Vehviläinen.

Municipalities have already been engaging actively with travel and tourism companies and organisations. Good examples of this include the Salpa Line Museum, the Bunker Museum in Virolahti and the 55-kilometre Salpa Trail.

The Salpa Line is one of Finland’s Cultural Heritage Sites of National Significance, as defined by the Finnish Heritage Agency. The Finnish Heritage Agency will continue to have a key role in providing advice and guidance for any restoration projects carried out at Salpa Line sites.

The state has been responsible for securing those sites at which there have been restrictions on the right of use, for instance by providing signage and protection, and by closing off high-risk sites.

In May, the Ministry of Finance will submit an application for cancellation of the restrictions on right of use to the National Land Survey of Finland.

The total number of such landowners is approximately 340. The National Land Survey will contact these landowners about cadastral survey services.