The cold weather has caused the Norwegian Ministry of Transport to grant 12 cities the right to impose traffic bans and restrictions for health reasons.
Pollution levels are now dangerously high in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Bærum, Drammen, Fredrikstad, Porsgrunn, Skien, Kristiansand, Lillehammer, Tromsø and Trondheim.
“Our measuring stations near the E6 and E16 [motorways] already showed high levels of pollution earlier this week, and the limits have been exceeded several times,” Gry Larsen at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen/NPRA tells Dagsavisen.”
Egil Bjørløw, health chief for Stavanger municipality, advises people with health problems to be cautious.
“It’s probably best those who suffer from heart or lung disease, asthma, or allergies to stay away from areas with high pollution over time and use public transportation as often as possible,” he tells Aftenbladet.
Bergen municipal council called an emergency meeting today to discuss the situation, after a serious deterioration in air quality this morning. The council is not enforcing any traffic restrictions for now, according to Bergens Tidende.
Not everyone is happy with the government’s measures, however, reports NTB.
“Oslo does not have the same acute problems as Bergen. Industry will lose billions of kroner if we stop traffic,” says Jøran Kallmyr, Commissioner for Environment and Transport in Oslo.