Huge areas of unspoilt landscape set to disappear after Government gives go-ahead to hydroelectric development in Troms
The Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature (NSCN) has reacted strongly to the news that Tord Lien, Minister for Petroleum and Energy, has given the go-ahead to hydro-electric developments in Troms. This is one of the most extensive hydro-electric developments to have been approved in recent years. Significant parts of the licence go against recommendations made by NVE (The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate).
Lars Haltbrekken, Chair of NSCN, commented that “The government has callously overturned any consideration towards our precious natural resources. Large areas of wilderness will disappear as a result of this development. It could also affect reindeer farming in the area.”
The development will take place at the innermost part of the Ullsfjord, at the stretch which is called Sørfjorden, in the county of Troms. The landscape in this area is characteristically coastal alpine fjord and mountains, with glaciers, glacial streams and a succession of lakes. NVE opposed the development of the Stordal plant because of this vulnerable mountain landscape.
“It is quite unbelievable that the government has overturned NVE, who also believe the environmental consequences of the development would be too great”, says Haltbrekken. “NSCN are of the opinion that there should be no development here precisely because it will conflict to such a great extent with the wildness of the landscape. We had hoped the government would put nature first for once in this particular case and we sincerely regret that this has not happened.”
NSCN will now try to take the case to the Norwegian Parliament. The extreme developmental pressure we are presently seeing directed towards the Norwegian landscape cannot continue in this manner. Consideration for the environment and future generations must take a much higher precedence. Parliament has previously said that the development of renewable energy must not encroach upon precious natural environments as is happening in this case.