The Norwegian Minister of Environment encouraged local authorities in the Lofoten archipelago in northern Norway to apply to the UNESCO for listing in the World Heritage survey media said. The listing might make it far harder for the oil companies to get access to the abundant hydrocarbons in the area. Minister Erik Solheim proposed to local municipalities in the Lofoten area to apply to the UNESCO for World Heritage status. The listing could complicate the oil industry’s campaign for access to the area. StatoilHydro and other companies are lobbying Norwegian authorities for access to the area, believed to hide major amounts of oil.
The fish industry, environmental groups and a growing part of the local population is however highly sceptical towards the oil industry, which they fear might disrupt the vulnerable marine environment in the area.
Mr. Erik Solheim visited the Lofoten municipalities and said that He believes it will be impossible to start oil extraction in coastal areas in the area, should it be included in the World Heritage list.
The Lofoten archipelago is highly picturesque with its high mountain, islands and fjords. Thousands of tourists every year visit the area.