AFTENBLADET THINKS: Municipalities fail to protect nature and topsoil. Sometimes local self-governance equates to national misgovernance. Shared values that the loser cannot separate.
It is a leader. The manager expresses opinions and analyzes of Stavanger Aftenblad.
This is hardly news. It is known that Norwegian municipalities have not been able to take care of natural assets or topsoil for decades. Untouched nature remains rare in Norway, defined as areas far from the nearest intervention that can be called “wilderness”.
It is well known that topsoil is being degraded at an unsustainable rate, despite successive governments adopting measures to prevent it. It is well known that rampant shantytown development in Norway, with the construction of roads, sewage systems, power cables and service buildings, is pushing further and further into areas that we should leave alone.
Wetlands and wetlands are being drained and destroyed, which is bad climate policy (wetlands store large amounts of greenhouse gases) and poor nature conservation because wetlands are extremely valuable habitats for birds, plants, insects and amphibians. The new central hospital in Stavanger is partly built on swampy land.
IN A large survey under NRK Destruction is documented. Natural encroachments have been detected and recorded with the help of artificial intelligence that has analyzed thousands of satellite images. The size is terrible. In the last five years, 44,000 surgeries have been performed. Converted to square meters, Norway has 79 square meters of nature. Every minute. 24/7 and year round.
New roads, gravel roofs, housing estates, data centers, shantytowns, wind farms. It's decision after decision, and it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything in a country with 357 municipalities. But NRK has demonstrated the scale, and it is frightening.
The mechanisms behind this tragic development are also well known. When municipalities compete with each other to be as “business-friendly” or “cottage-friendly” as possible, it's a simple matter of pitting developers against each other. If we are not allowed to build on this marshland, we will move to another municipality. We need to get this decision now, preferably yesterday. Local election officials are under a lot of pressure.
The cottage industry and the wind industry, both very natural activities, are often lifelines for municipalities struggling with aging and displacement.
Climate and Environment Minister Andreas Bjelland Eriksson (AP) tells NRK that the authorities are right not to have a comprehensive overview. “Development is going in the wrong direction of nature. It is a serious social problem,” he says.
In that he is absolutely right. The question is whether he has a solution to the problem. As for his government counterpart, the Center Party is leading the way in the idea that decisions should be made at the local level. But what if municipal self-government is actually the problem here? Only then can the government prevent destruction. And the state? That's Bjelland Eriksson, that.