Progress for Norway local sustainability plan

Government announces further round of funding on project's third anniversary

Norway's innovative "Bærekraftige lokalsamfunn" (Sustainable Local Communities) project, which winds up its initial three-year phase at the end of this month, is to carry on with another round of grants to local authorities, one of the project's organisers told ENDS Daily today. Lasse Jalling of the state pollution control authority (SFT) said the agency had received about 15 applications for funding and would decide by the end of April how its NKr4m (euros 460,000) budget was to be allocated.

The project focuses on such issues as alternative energy sources, green purchasing and supply policies, sustainable business development, public transport, biodiversity and education. Seven municipalities were involved in the first phase, ranging from the major cities of Kristiansand and Stavanger to tiny rural communities (ENDS Daily 29 September 1997). At least four of the original participating local authorities have already hired staff to continue sustainability-related work, Mr Jalling said.

A conference of more than 300 project participants at the SFT's Oslo headquarters last week was told that more than 100 projects had been launched under the scheme, involving private households, businesses and NGOs as well as local government officials. Among the highlights:

* A recycling rate of 41% in the remote municipality of Flora, compared with the national average of 29%.

* A new bus service in the southern town of Fredrikstad replacing 12,000km in private car journeys.

* Installation of 1,500 energy-saving light bulbs in the tiny rural community of Hurum, saving the equivalent annual energy consumption of 40 households.

* Savings of 100 megawatts in four years (one year's energy needs for five homes) in the small settlement of Røros through energy conservation measures.

* An increase in refuse separation at source from 4% to 40% by one large firm in the south coast city of Kristiansand.

"The most important aspect of this project is not the actual effects on the environment," Mr Jalling stressed, "but the processes which have been started and which we hope will continue without further state funding."

Follow Up:
SFT, +47 22 57 34 00.

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