Campaigners from NSR Nuorat (Norske Samers Riksforbunds ungdomsorganisasjon) and Nature and Youth (Natur og ungdom) have been protesting against the Ministry of Oil and Energy in Oslo since Feb. 23, 2023. The reason for the action is that the wind turbines at Fosen, which the Supreme Court has said are illegal, have not been demolished. The picture shows Sami artist Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen being removed by Norwegian police the night before Monday Feb. 27. Photo: Rasmus Madsen Berg, Natur og ungdom
In October 2021, Norway’s Supreme Court ruled that two wind plants at Fosen are violating Sami rights. However, the wind farm is still operating.
Text: Anne Baardvik, advicer for Motvind Norge
The business model of the wind power industry has taken a shortcut through laws and regulations to obtain permits to build and produce wind power plants. The number and size of offenses this entails varies from area to area. The Sami community was contacted by the developer to obtain consent, but their lack of consent was ignored, along with the information of the neighbors and other people with rights in the planning area. The municipalities should have checked in advance which laws and regulations could come into conflict with permission in this planning area, but this was not properly done due to an unclear division of competence.
Norwegian energy authorities should have made sure that all rights, laws and regulations were properly managed either by themselves or by the municipality. Instead, neither the municipality nor the energy authorities have carried out the coordination obligation of the legislation, and several breaches of the law have occurred.
As a result, the wind power plants at Fosen were built illegally, they are too big with too much noise and with too much negative impact on the grazing areas, on the reindeer and the opportunity to run reindeer herding. Reindeer herding and wind power plants are incompatible, and cannot exist together.
Reindeer herding and wind power plants are incompatible, and cannot exist together.
On 11 October 2021, Norway’s Supreme Court unanimously found this to be in violation of Article 27 of the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and considered the wind power plants to «deny the right to cultural exercise». The permit for the wind power plant was thus declared invalid by the court. The Supreme Court did not determine what should be done with the invalid power plant. The government says it is working to make the invalid permit compliant with SP Art 27, which is why it has not yet been dismantled or moved. The continuous violation of human rights has now lasted for 500 days with no sign of resolution.
The continuous violation of human rights has now lasted for 500 days with no sign of resolution.
According to Section 32, subsection 4 of the Planning and Building Act, the municipality has immediate responsibility for assessing the degree of illegality and ordering a stoppage, when they are informed of an offence. The municipality then normally physically goes out to stop measures that do not have a valid permit. Here there is no waiting period and at Fosen it should have been done on the same day as the verdict, to prevent consequences of the invalidity. If necessary, the planning and building authorities can request assistance from the police for the implementation of stoppage orders.