Green king plans cottages in nature reserve

He might have a profile as a campaigner for the environment, but now Sweden's King Carl Gustaf says he wants to build homes for his children next to his fishing lodge - right in the middle of a nature reserve.

The king has applied to the Västerbotten county administrative board for planning permission to build three small cottages in the grounds of his house in the Vindelfjällen nature reserve in Västerbotten county, northern Sweden.

According to local paper Västerbottens-Kuriren, the cottages are intended for the King’s children – Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine – when they visit the area.

The paper reports that strict environmental rules mean it is most unusual for planning permission to be granted for new buildings in the nature reserve. It remains to be seen whether an exception will be made for the country’s monarch, patron of the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s Sweden branch.

Palace officials were quick to emphasise that the cottages would have a minimal impact on the local environment.

“We’re talking about three small guest cottages – sleeping cottages, without kitchens,” said royal spokesman Wilhelm Reuterswärd.

Quite how much the young royals will use the cottages remains to be seen. The king himself has not stayed at his home in Vindelfjällen since 2003.