Norway set to enforce freedom of information

Government proposes wide-ranging legislation strengthening requirements on firms, public bodies

The Norwegian government on Friday proposed legislation guaranteeing citizens strengthened rights of access to environmental information. The rules would oblige private companies to provide on request information on "everything from production processes to the contents of products". Residents would have the right to obtain details on emissions from nearby factories; farmers would have to provide data on their pesticide use.

Imports, including those raising ethical issues, such as tropical timber used in furniture, would also be covered. In the public sector, government departments, regional and local authorities would be more open to challenge on the environmental impact of their decisions and progress in meeting environmental targets. The "green state" programme, which aims to install environmental management in all government agencies by 2005, would be "central" to this aspect of the legislation (EED 06/03/02).

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