European Interest

Climate change fears stop housing construction plans in Sweden

Flickr/Bert Kaufmann/CC BY-NC 2.0
A view of Mölle, a locality situated in Höganäs Municipality, Skåne County, Sweden.

Plans to build three multi-family housing blocks in a forest grove near Skanör center in the south-west of Sweden have been suspended by the County Administrative Board in Skåne. Officials are concerned the land could suffer from climate-related floods in the future.

“The County Administrative Board is in control of this in a way that sometimes feels unreasonable. It is after all the municipality having a monopoly of monopoly,” Carina Wutzler, chairman of the municipal council in Vellinge, was quoted as saying by Sweden’s SVT News online.

So far, the county administrative board in Skåne has stopped five residential buildings because the land has been inappropriate from the climate point of view. In Skåne, all houses must now be built on land at least three meters above sea level.

“For some municipalities there are places where they think more short-term and want to build attractive housing to attract new tax revenues. It may be the municipality’s interest in the whole,” said Pär Persson, sea water strategy at the County Administrative Board in Skåne.

The municipality of Vellinge is not alone in having a conflict with the county administrative board about climate change. According to SVT News, a similar situation is being reported in several other parts of southern Sweden.

The municipalities can circumvent legislation by utilizing older detailed plans that cannot be demolished. There the municipalities have the right to give building permits how low the land is. The new law in which county councils have to make tough climate demands on the detailed plans did not come until 2008.

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