Moderation urged over Norwegian land clean-up

Agency says "unrealistic" to clean up all contaminated sites as more are added to register

It is neither realistic nor necessary to aim to clean up all of Norway's contaminated land sites, the head of its pollution control agency HÃ¥vard Holm said last week as the country's 1998 status report on polluted land clean-up was published. Around half of Norway's 3,500 confirmed contaminated land sites pose little or no danger to health or the environment as long as they remain undisturbed, the report points out. Meanwhile, progress is being made in cleaning up the most urgent cases: of 153 sites originally considered to need urgent investigation, 50 have been dealt with. Some 141 new sites have been added to Norway's polluted land register - mainly due to changes in land use. Nordic countries in general are coming round to the view that it is impractical to aim for complete remediation of contaminated sites, according to experts at a recent meeting of the Nordic Network for Ground Remediation (Nordsoil) in Espoo, Finland. Instead, there is a trend towards remediation suited to the likely further use of the land. The network plans to dedicate the whole of its next meeting in February to discussion of this issue.

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