View of a town surrounded by lakes.
Aerial view of Arjeplog, in 1992. Credit: Jurek Holzer/TT

Softer rules on shoreline protection welcomed by some

4:33 min

The rules for shoreland protection will be eased in the more scarcely populated parts of Sweden, according to the four-party agreement that helped bring in Sweden's new government.

One of the municipalities where this will mean a lot is Arjeplog in Norrbotten county, where Britta Flinkfeldt is the mayor.

"We have 8,700 lakes, and more than 9,000 islands. It is almost impossible to build a house anywhere in the municipality, without getting close to the shore," she tells Radio Sweden.

Arjeplog is the most scarcely populated municipality in Sweden. With the size of half of Belgium, it only houses 2,900 people - or 0.22 human beings per square kilometre. For the municipality to survive and prosper, it is important to get more people to move to there, says Britta Flinkfeldt.

"If you want to attract new people and if you want them to find it attractive to come and live in our municipality, we have to have this tool also," she says.

The current rules ban the building of houses within 100 metres from a waterline. Exceptions can be made, but it involves administrative process that can be cumbersome, for small municipalities in particular, says Flinkfeldt.

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