The zero conference in Oslo on Thursday started with a debate between four environmental politicians. SV leader Audun Lysbakken, Venstre leader Guri Melby and Conservative Nikolai Astrup discussed climate policy with the climate minister. And it was in this connection that Espen Barth Eide (Ap) determined that the former bourgeois government built too many motorways.
– You built a lot of motorways, Eide asserted to Høyre’s Nikolai Astrup.
So does this mean that the current government will stop further development of motorways? No, not quite.
When TV 2 talks to Barth Eide, he refers to the major problems that motorway construction entails, both for the climate and for the major interventions in nature.
– It is better to upgrade roads that already exist, straighten bends, widen the road, make them wider and upgrade county roads rather than constantly building new motorways.
– Are we building too many motorways in Norway?
– In any case, we should not continue as we have done, to build in huts and suffer, says Barth Eide, who does not want to specify which road projects should possibly be scrapped.
– We shall not stop ongoing projects, but the long-term policy must be more economical and take more account of both climate and nature.
– What about the projects that are planned but have not been started?
– When it comes to individual projects, it is best for the Minister of Transport to answer that. What I am talking about is a long-term arrangement for this, says the climate minister to TV 2.
The right-wing member of the environment and energy committee at the Storting, Nikolai Astrup, does not agree that motorway projects should be shelved.
– I believe that it is right that we have good and solid infrastructure in Norway with traffic-safe roads. So not all places are to build a motorway, but in some places there is a traffic basis for it and then it is right to build such, says Astrup to TV 2.
And the construction of motorways in the previous government period was absolutely necessary, he believes.
But the climate minister receives support from Framtiden i Våre Hender. Leader Anja Bakken Riise agrees that the previous government built too many motorways. But she is unsure whether the current government is serious about the cut in new road projects.
– It remains to be seen whether it is not just to save money on next year’s state budget, or whether they will take actual action in the years to come. And then it’s about expanding the public transport services to a much greater extent than they plan for, she says to TV 2.