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Cycling and pollution in Norway
22 March 2007 S.Gómez

Interview with Mr Bernt HOLEN Norwegian teacher accompanying a school exchange between Lycée "Les Bruyères" and Skien "Videregående Skole"

Nailed tires : an ethic issue. — Is cycling commonplace in Norwegian cities ?
You wouldn’t see many cyclists in Norway and especially in winter because of the climate. In the northern part of the country it’s hardly possible to ride a bicycle. It is more frequent in the South but snow and ice make it difficult if not utterly impossible or hazardous.
Specific tires with small metal nails that cling to the ice are available both for cars and bikes. Actual buyers of them are few for two reasons. First the nails, as they get used, produce a noxious metallic dust. It can also be accounted by the damages caused by these tires on the road which have to be repaired through local taxation. 45 % of cars are currently equipped with these specific tires and the government have introduced a tax on the use of mailed tires in the city of Oslo in order to cut down on pollution. In the city of Skien the local authorities are aiming at lowering the use of mailed tires next winter from 30 % to 25 %.

Nailed boots for Father Christmas.

— What is your individual participation in the sustainable developpement daily?
I believe that there is an ecological awareness. In this respect, we have powerful natural energy resources but daily, the selecting itoring also exists on our premises and i believe that this system is well anchored in our way of life. I think that a majority of Norwegians takes part in it because it is rather common to see people recycling their old papers, their newspapers,... The Norwegian Salvation Army is also known for the recycling of old clothing and the pieces of furniture.

Roads and water / Advantages and setbacks of a rugged landscape.

— Which is the Norwegian energy Policy?
Initially there isn’t any policy for the nuclear power in our country, for the simple reason that we don’t have any nuclear plant. There is one in Sweden but not in Norway, which is scarce rare in Europe. We’d rather set up a policy of the renewable energies. We exploit our great watery potential: tidal waves, lakes, rivers with many dams.
We have to know that the industry of gas has generated a political crisis here between on the one side, the government (center) who was opposed to the construction of polluting gas works factories without effective filtering of waste, and on the other side the opposition (socialist) in favour of bringing them immediately into service. We have discovered large oilfields (70’s) and deposit of gas (90’s) notably in the North Sea. So we have begun to build big factories to transform these raw materials for the exportation of gas. We seldom use it a little bit because we find it expensive. Well the factories are already in working order. Perhaps in five years we’ll have appropriate filters but for the moment we pollute our environment and this is a pity.

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