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Blue and orange dolly rope and small pieces of plastic among the vegetation on a beach. People cleaning in the background.

Environmental Assessments


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A clean-up operation must have a positive impact on the environment and must not result in unnecessary damage or interference. To achieve this, you need to perform an environmental assessment for each clean-up operation.

Careful movement

The right to roam grants wide opportunities for the use of uncultivated land, but you will not always be able to clean up where, when, and how you want to. As an organiser, it is important that you have the required knowledge to ensure considerate movement, so that the desire to do good for nature is not counterproductive.

The Outdoor Recreation Act sets out requirements concerning considerate and careful movement, including clean-up operations. The Nature Diversity Act includes a general duty of care that beach cleaners must adhere to. For beach cleaners, this duty will mean, among other things, that you must behave attentively, familiarise yourself with any natural assets you could influence during a clean-up operation and do anything you can to prevent the clean-up activities from inflicting damage to the natural diversity.

The objective of a clean-up operation is to leave the landscape in a better condition than it was in before, and with few traces of the operation.

Is the landscape in the clean-up area valuable?

You should obtain knowledge about the landscape in the area you want to clean before starting. Birds, animals, geology, vegetation, and landscape have inherent value, but there are certain species and habitats that are more vulnerable than others. This applies to e.g., animals, vegetation and birds that are endangered. Protected areas, such as nature reserves, national parks and landscape conservation areas often have vulnerable landscapes and are considered important to natural diversity. They can be found in several national map services that collect data from Naturbase. Information about habitats, protected areas and vulnerable species is also available in Rent hav.

Egg ligger i et rede på en strand.Egg ligger i et rede på en strand.
Be considerate and do not disturb birds during the nesting period.

Clean-up operations during nesting and breeding season

Animals and birds are vulnerable during the nesting and breeding season in spring and summer. So please consider whether it is necessary to perform the clean-up operation during nesting and breading season or you could schedule the operation for a different time of year.

If it is a protected area with banned access,

It is illegal to perform clean-up activities during this period. If it is a recreational area or in your local environment, you can perform clean-up activities, but you must always be careful.

The species database, Artsdatabanken, contains valuable information about species in Norway. If you have any doubts about whether you should perform clean-up activities during the nesting and breeding season, please contact the County Governor, the Norwegian Nature Surveillance or the Norwegian Ornithological Society.

Should we pull and drag it, shovel, and dig it up or leave it behind?

Some waste can be stuck, buried in sand, or partly overgrown by vegetation. To dig, pull and drag waste that is buried could have consequences for the vegetation, which would take a long time to re-establish. You therefore need to consider the extent of the intervention compared to how much waste you will be able to remove. In some cases, it will also be prohibited.

Removing of nets that have been partially overgrown by vegetation. Photo: Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment

Along coasts and rivers, vegetation helps bind the soil together and, by digging and removing vegetation, the landscape could become more exposed to erosion from waves, precipitation, streams, and rivers. There may also be a registered cultural monument in the location where you are digging.

Be aware when using drones

Drones are effective tools for mapping littering but can also disturb birdlife, fauna, and outdoor activities. Considerate and careful use of drones is therefore essential. The nesting and breeding periods are vulnerable stages of life in nature and the noise from a drone can have consequences for fauna. You should therefore carefully consider whether the use of drones is necessary. In protected areas, the use of drones is often restricted and, in some cases, prohibited. In such cases, you will need to obtain an exemption to fly a drone. Here, you can find the regulations and guidelines that apply to commercial use of drones and the use of hobby drones.

Motorised traffic

Motorised traffic in wilderness is generally not permitted in Norway and this includes, among other things, ATVs, mini-diggers, and tractors. If you need to use any of these for a clean-up operation to transport or remove waste, you will need to apply for an exemption or permit from the local authority in advance. If you use boats during the clean-up operation, it is important to comply with the bans on access applicable to protected areas in connection with disembarking. You can find further information about the considerations you need to keep in mind and the restrictions that apply to boat traffic from nautical charts.

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