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Agreement on Environmental Laws

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Agreement on Environmental Laws

Herðubreið mountain, Northeast Iceland

Herðubreið mountain. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Members of parliament appear to be reaching a historic agreement regarding environmental laws, which will take effect Sunday, according to RÚV.

Current environmental laws date back to 1999, but new laws were passed in Alþingi at the end of March, 2013. They were supposed to take effect April 1, 2014. There had been plans to revoke them, but the decision was finally made to delay the date on which they would take effect in order to allow necessary changes to be made.

The new law includes requirements for treating nature with respect; the public obtains an increased right to travel freely; there are clearer rules regarding landowners’ rights to restrict access to their land. Furthermore, the tasks and responsibilities of institutions are better defined.

Höskuldur Þórhallsson, chairman of Alþingi’s Environment and Planning Committee commented, “I think the result will be good, that the laws will be good and that they can become a guideline for the future in environmental protection.”

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