Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic
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Environmental Impact Assessment in the Arctic

A Guide to Best Practice

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva

Significant growth in economic activity in the Arctic has added weight to the argument that projects must be developed responsibly and sustainably. Addressing growing concerns regarding the exploitation of the Arctic’s natural resources, this timely book presents and evaluates examples of best practice in Arctic environmental impact assessment.
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Chapter 7: Norway

Timo Koivurova, Pamela Lesser, Sonja Bickford, Paula Kankaanpää and Marina Nenasheva


Although Norway is not a member of the European Union, it is a party to the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement between the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) countries and the EU. As such, Norway is obligated to incorporate the European Union’s Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (EIA Directive) into the Norwegian legal system. EU legislation does not, however, apply to Svalbard since it was excluded from the EEA agreement. Norway is also party to the Espoo Convention, which addresses transboundary impacts, and the Kiev Protocol, which addresses strategic environmental assessment. Unlike the other Arctic countries, Norway has three separate EIA systems. What is generically termed ‘environmental impact assessment’ has its legal basis in the Planning and Building Act (Planning and Building Act 2014), although it is more typically referred to in both legal and lay terms as ‘impact assessment’. EIAs in the Planning and Building Act (PBA) apply to all onshore projects on the mainland of Norway that meet the criteria in Appendix I. The second EIA system is governed by the Petroleum Act (Petroleum Act 2011) and applies only to offshore oil and gas projects. The third system is part of the Svalbard Environmental Act (Svalbard Environmental Protection Act 2001), which is only applicable to projects in the delineated planning areas on Svalbard.

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