The Environment Agency of Iceland has green-lighted the construction of a 300-meter ice tunnel at Langjökull glacier. The man-made ice tunnel, which will be the world’s largest, and likely the first open to the public, is expected to attract a higher number of people who currently visit the glacier.
Vatnajökull, Iceland's largest glacier. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.
The Public Health Authority has raised concerns about pollution but the Environment Agency of Iceland does not believe that the project will have a significant impact on the environment and see no reason for an environmental impact assessment (EIA). Engineering consultancy Efla and several tourism operators have been working on the project since 2010.
According to Fréttablaðið, one of the aims of the project is to make Langjökull accessible to the public and scientific community in a new way.
“Inside the tunnel, people will be able to see what the glacier looks like on the inside. The plan is also to provide a brief history of glaciers and the effects of global warming,” a statement from Efla reads.
The tunnel, which will be located at around 1,250 meters above sea level, and at a maximum depth of 30 meters, is expected to be visited by around 20,000 people each year, 4,000 more than currently visit the glacier.
Langjökull is Iceland’s second-largest ice cap after Vatnajökull and is located west of the highlands.