18 • 11 • 2021

LVM Calls on Local Governments to Cooperate in the Maintenance of Forest Roads

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As the winter has arrived, JSC “Latvia's State Forests” (LVM) encourages local governments in Latvia to conclude cooperation agreements on the maintenance of forest roads for the needs of residents. Approximately 5% of the roads managed by LVM are also important for local residents in various parts of Latvia. In order to ensure the accessibility of these roads throughout the year, LVM is already successfully cooperating with several municipalities.

Latvia has a road network of more than 70 800 km. The majority of these roads are State and municipal roads, but forest roads managed by JSC “Latvia's State Forests” are also an important part of the State road network. In total, LVM's road network is 12 570 km long. Their main function is to ensure forest management, incl. timber carriage and fire protection, thus forest roads are maintained in accordance with the production needs. However, these roads often serve as access to individual homesteads or even settlements and horticultural cooperatives.

“We are increasingly receiving requests from local residents to take care of the roads that serve their properties. As much as possible, we do this, but LVM, as a State capital company, must primarily ensure the successful course of economic activity; therefore, we cannot respond to all the requests. Sometimes residents turn to their local government with a request to maintain a road that provides access to their property, but there they are refused because these roads are managed by JSC “Latvia’s State Forests”. The solution could be LVM's cooperation with local governments to maintain these forest roads that are so important for people. Moreover, it can be observed that with the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions, more and more people live and use the opportunity to work remotely from their country houses and summer cottages, thus increasing the importance of infrastructure,” says Ingus Barviķis, LVM Forest Infrastructure Operation and Maintenance Manager.

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The maintenance of such roads is especially important in winter, when it snows. LVM primarily removes snow from those forest roads that are necessary for ensuring economic activity. JSC “Latvia's State Forests” has already successfully cooperated with a number of local governments and calls on local governments to conclude a cooperation agreement this year as well, which provides for the right of the local government to clear the forest roads managed by LVM from snow in winter; to carry out dust removal work on forest roads in summer, and to maintain roads all year round closer to horticultural cooperatives, where traffic is more intensive. Local governments are aware of the requirements for road maintenance works carried out by LVM and they do not differ significantly from those of local governments. LVM plans to cooperate with local governments in the long term, concluding an agreement for at least five years.