New survey shows Norwegians are against oil drilling off Lofoten Islands
Henningsvær, Lofoten, Norway.
Oslo, Norway - A new survey reveals that the majority of Norwegian people are against oil drilling outside the Lofoten Islands. The ‘no’ majority is greater in northern Norway, where most of the potential employment from oil activities would be. The Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, comes from the Christian Conservative Party (Krf). The survey shows that his own voters are against the governments plans: 45 per cent of Krf voters said ‘no’ to oil drilling outside Lofoten, while only 25 per cent said yes.
"Scientists say no, fishermen say no, governmental experts say no, and now the Norwegian people are saying no — and the loudest ‘no’ comes from northern Norway," said Rasmus Hansson, Secretary General of WWF-Norway. "It’s time the Prime Minister Bondevik showed some guts and said ‘no’ as well. It’s clear the oil industry is not welcome in Lofoten. The results from this survey give the government a good reason to decide that there should be no oil development in the Lofoten area."
The Norwegian government will decide in early December whether to allow oil companies like Shell, Statoil, and Norske Hydro to drill for oil around the Lofoten Islands in arctic Norway. The area is home to the world's largest cod and herring stocks, shoals of sperm whales and killer whales, some of the largest sea bird colonies in Europe, including puffin and cormorant, and the world’s biggest cold water coral reef, which was only discovered last year.
Mr Hansson said that the Norwegian people, and in particular those living in northern Norway, clearly think that protecting living resources and the unique environment in Lofoten is far more important than searching for oil in the area.
"The Norwegian people know very well how important oil is for the country’s economy. Yet this survey is a strong signal to the government and parliament that public opinion still says 'no, thank-you' to oil in Lofoten,” he said.
Hansson said the survey shows that the people of Lofoten and others are aware of how important nature is to island livelihoods. Norwegians know that fish and nature have been, and forever will be, the major income and industry in Lofoten.
The national survey was carried out for WWF by AC Nielsen. It shows that 45 per cent of the people asked in northern Norway are against oil drilling, while 35 per cent are in favour. On a national level, 40 per cent are against oil development in Lofoten, and 38 per cent in favour. Twenty-five per cent have no opinion. Forty-five per cent of Krf supporters are against the drilling, while only 25 per cent are in favour.
For further information:
Secretary general, WWF-Norway
Tel: +47 22 03 65 00
Marine Conservation Officer, WWF-Norway
Tel: +47 22 03 65 15