Thursday, May 26

Time and time again, local democracy in Oslo is overrun. Enough.

  • Eivind Trædal

    Group leader in Oslo MDG and leader of the transport and environment committee in Oslo City Council

“The time for local overtaking is over,” the government stated in the Hurdal platform.

Nevertheless, we in Oslo have already seen several examples of the new government rolling over local democracy.

1. The location of Oslo prison on Bredtvet.

2. The closure of Ullevål hospital.

3. The development of the E18 Western Corridor.

Ordinary people live both in Groruddalen and in Gudbrandsdalen. It is time for the government to acknowledge this.

This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.

It has been almost four months since the new government took office. IN The Hurdal platform it is stated that «the time for local overtaking is over».

Nevertheless, we in Oslo have already seen several examples of the new government rolling over local democracy.

A united city council

Statsbygg has concluded. They have decided that Bredtvedt is the best location for Oslo prison and receive support from Minister of Justice Emilie Enger Mehl (Sp).

In that case, the authorities overtake a close-knit city council. They want to build down one of the largest green areas in Groruddalen. Another good example is the closure of Ullevål hospital.

The case has aroused strong local involvement. The city’s planning authorities are critical of the plans at Gaustad. The Center Party in Oslo was against the development of Ullevål. They made it their main focus in the election campaign. It quickly became clear that the new government would not stop the monster development at Gaustad.

Oslo City Council consists of 59 representatives. Only the Conservative Party’s 15 representatives support the government’s plans.

Increased traffic into Oslo

The development of the monster motorway E18 west corridor is underway in Asker and Bærum. It is a road that will increase traffic into Oslo. This is in direct conflict with both the important national goal of zero growth in car traffic to the big cities. Oslo Municipality also aims to reduce car traffic.

In 2020, Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Sp) was difficult critical to the project: “Here, more than 40 billion kroner is spent for people to get to the cabin as quickly as possible on Friday night and for the business lawyer to take his big Tesla to work, instead of taking the train.”

Oslo has unfortunately become accustomed to being ravaged by the bourgeois government

The government’s budget partner SV are also strong opponents of the project. The broke out of the county cooperation in Viken in 2021 due to the case.

Now it is time for Viken to be closed, while the construction of the motorway continues against Oslo’s wishes. Oslo has unfortunately become accustomed to being ravaged by the bourgeois government.

The Y-block is torn

The construction of the Government Quarter takes place, for example, via a government zoning plan. The Y-block has been demolished against the will of the city council majority. Oslo has clearly warned that the project could become a barrier to city life in the city center. We have called for the project to be scaled down.

Here, our new Minister of Local Government Bjørn Arild Gram (Sp) still has the opportunity to deliver.

We are not heard

In environmental policy, Oslo repeatedly clashes with a reluctant state. A broad majority has decided that we will rebuild Trondheimsveien into a pleasant city street. This is something the Norwegian Public Roads Administration has so far opposed.

A clear city council majority, which also includes the Center Party, has decided that we want emission-free zones, but will not be heard.

We also lack the authority to require emission-free construction sites in zoning plans. This despite positive signals from the construction industry.

Some of these problems are probably due to the fact that the FRP has for many years set the terms for environmental policy. They have used Oslo as a chopping block and enemy image. The bourgeois parties ended up losing control of both Oslo and most other big cities.

Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party) now has a lot to gain from proving that the new government takes local democracy seriously and acknowledges that ordinary people live both in Groruddalen and in Gudbrandsdalen.

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