Bergen pollution reaches France / News / The Foreigner

Bergen pollution reaches France. Officials in Bergen fear a backlash from French tourists following a blogger’s report about the city’s pollution problems. French-born Diane Berbain has been living in Bergen for seven years, currently around Danmarksplass in the centre of the city. According to her, 60,000 vehicles drive there each day, and levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) were dangerously high on 11th November.   The article, published on rue89.com, allegedly because of Norwegian Eva Joly’s French President candidacy, paints a picture of “clean air” Norway different to the official tourist version.

bergenpollutionproblems, frenchtouristindustry



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Bergen pollution reaches France

Published on Wednesday, 23rd November, 2011 at 09:34 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 23rd November 2011 at 14:01.

Officials in Bergen fear a backlash from French tourists following a blogger’s report about the city’s pollution problems.

View of Bergen city centre
View of Bergen city centre
Photo: Aqwis/Wikimedia Commons


French-born Diane Berbain has been living in Bergen for seven years, currently around Danmarksplass in the centre of the city. According to her, 60,000 vehicles drive there each day, and levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) were dangerously high on 11th November.  

The article, published on rue89.com, allegedly because of Norwegian Eva Joly’s French President candidacy, paints a picture of “clean air” Norway different to the official tourist version.

“Norway…should reconsider its self-image, especially Bergen. The second-largest city, world heritage city, and one of Europe’s largest cruise destinations, has been heavily polluted during the winter for a number of years,” she writes.

Saying, “I’m quite annoyed”, she tells Bergens Tidende that, “the municipality should be ashamed, and this is an extremely important cause that is worth fighting for. That’s why I am using this channel.”

In 2010, offcials called a crisis meeting, fearing air pollution levels posed a serious threat to public health. Cold weather combined with car exhaust emissions made Bergen the most polluted city in Europe at the time.

As part of efforts to combat the problem, officials introduced free buses and parking restrictions. They also considered closing parts of the centre, as well as kindergartens and schools in the most polluted areas of the city.

The Bergen Light Rail service (Bybanen), recently awarded the "Worldwide Project of the Year" prize by the Light Rail Transit Association, was also opened last year. Its aim is to reduce the city’s traffic noise and pollution.

Head of Bergen tourism, Ole Warberg, says he fears Ms Berbain's article will hit the tourist industry.

“It creates a potentially dangerous external image. We must not bite the hand that feeds us. I’m not going to underestimate the problem, but I refuse to believe that Bergen is so much worse than other cities or towns.”

Oslo, Bærum, Drammen, Fredrikstad, Porsgrunn, Skien, Kristiansand, Lillehammer, Tromsø, Trondheim and Stavanger also encountered pollution problems last year.

He also fears it will hit Bergen’s some 20,000 overnight stays from France, and the whole of Norway.

Saying that, “it will be difficult to prove the effect”, he fears it will affect the whole country too, especially the fish industry.

“France is also one of Norway’s biggest recipients of fish exports. We sell Norway as being clean and well organised, with fish and nature. Foreigners buy fish because it is pure.”

Mr Warberg tells The Foreigner that, “there has been a considerable increase in the number of diesel-driven cars in Bergen in the last two years as a result of government tax concessions. They are villainous in towns when it comes to pollution, especially under cold conditions in traffic. Bergen’s topography, surrounded by seven mountains, also creates unfortunate conditions.”

“Whilst the air quality in Bergen has never been as good as it is at the moment we have a challenge. We are not trying to fool anyone here, and members of the city council are extremely concerned something is done.”



Published on Wednesday, 23rd November, 2011 at 09:34 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 23rd November 2011 at 14:01.

This post has the following tags: bergenpollutionproblems, frenchtouristindustry.





  
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