The central side says that they will protect the agricultural land. At the same time, they’re voting against it locally — including in Trygve Slacksvold Vedam’s own municipality, MDG says.
– Our people have been in despair over this for many years, over many periods. “We have local council representatives who have many protests against nature and topsoil degradation,” says Une Aina Bastholm, representative of the Storting and former head of MDG.
He points out that the Center Party and SP leader Trygve Slacksvold Ved have for years said they prioritized stopping the development of farmland.
But in municipalities, they vote to build roads and commercial buildings on the same land, MDG Summit says.
– Occasionally Sp is an ally – but we often see Sp advocating for the depletion of topsoil, thereby destroying Norwegians’ food security, he says, and continues:
– I think they are wolves in sheep’s clothing nationally and often locally. Because it’s very dishonest for them to talk about it too much and make it seem like it’s a high priority. But in many cases domestically, they are not.
Several hundred football fields
Bastholm refers to what Agriculture Minister Keir Pollestad (SP) recently wrote A discussion post about it Conservation of topsoil is more important than ever.
– Both Vedam and Pollestad use big words about food security when launching new measures for grain storage. But the fact is that the SP has not voted from us proposals on stronger national protection of topsoil in the Storting – and we see that it is very common for them to vote to reduce topsoil domestically.
He lists several examples – including Wedham’s own municipality of Stange:
Stange, the home municipality of Vedum, received criticism from the state administrator this summer for allocating a significant amount of cultivated land in the municipal plan for various building purposes, although a review does not appear to have been carried out to reduce the reallocation of previously allocated areas.
Sp has no mayor in Stange. But internally they voted:
- Development of the Kåterud business area, This includes 35 agricultural plots will be taken out of production and demolished. That’s the equivalent of five football fields.
- The MDG proposed to demand that all areas with agricultural land be fully protected for agricultural purposes when implementing the municipal plan by 2023. Only MDG, SV, Rødt and Bygdelista voted in favor.
– Transverse stress
Bastholm says he fully understands that many local politicians are under cross-pressure as developers promise jobs and settlements if they can only build where there is fertile soil today.
– If you don’t say yes, they can go to the neighboring municipality and say they will create jobs and activities there instead.
This, he says, is why the MDG wants national soil protection — meaning it’s not appropriate to grant municipal exemptions if someone wants to build on topsoil.
– We believe that all these exemptions granted should be approved by the state authority
– What about local self-determination when municipalities are developed?
– It is important that municipalities decide how to build a settlement, but there is a great freedom without the need to build topsoil. It means you have to use the parts you’ve already built in a smart way.
He says that the Central Party is as much a “landowner’s party” as it is an agrarian party.
– They are concerned that the owners of the land should decide the land themselves. But agricultural policies make it harder to be a farmer — and more tempting to sell when a developer offers a good price.
Q: To cooperate
Agriculture Minister Geir Pollestad (Sp) replies that there is no doubt that both Sp and MDG are in favor of stronger soil protection in Norway.
– What is needed now to take care of more farmland is that those who are actually in favor of it don’t spend time criticizing each other.
He points out that the SP in the government has come up with a new soil conservation strategy, aiming to redistribute a maximum of 2,000 acres annually.
– In comparison, the first soil conservation target adopted was 6,000 decares. That means our local politicians now have less chance of reducing topsoil. The central party is happy with this.
He doesn’t want to go into each of the examples of MDG highlights – but points out that, among others, they are aimed at the mayor of Randaberg in Rogaland.
– There is Randaberg Received National Soil Conservation Award Land earmarked for redundancy should be returned to agriculture. I would like to invite MDG to further cooperate in maintaining our topsoil, he says.
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