• Sweden's news in English

Farmers look to curb right of public access

David Landes · 5 Jan 2011, 16:46

Published: 05 Jan 2011 16:46 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

According to the Federation of Swedish Farmers (Lantbrukarnas riksförbund – LRF), Swedish forests and fields are in danger of being overexploited by different companies.

"It's one thing if you are an individual out in the forest picking blueberries, but if you are part of a huge group who is also camping in the forest and that is part of a commercial enterprise, that is something else," LRF spokesperson Anders Holmestig told The Local.

Holmestig explained that "commercial pressures" have become too great for some lands in parts of Sweden, especially those near larger cities.

The association now wants to make changes to Swedish environmental laws to stop commercial activities justified by relying on Sweden’s right of public access.

Referred to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) as a "national symbol," allemansrätten -- literally translated to "everyman's right" – is enshrined in the Swedish constitution and has roots in political customs dating back to medieval times.

However, it is not regulated by any specific law or statute.

The right of public access is a well-established custom designed to ensure that individuals right to visit the country's vast natural expanses, regardless of whether or not the land is privately owned.

"According to the right of public access, people can spend time on the land as long as they don't do any harm," Holmestig said.

He added that many of the areas used by berry picking companies and tourist operations are in fact owned by members of the farmers association who nevertheless provide access to their land free of charge in accordance with the right of public access, despite the wear and tear which can occur.

Holmestig emphasised that the farmers' association simply wants to re-examine the scope of the right of public access with an eye toward limiting commercial activities.

"We don't want to take people's right to visit the forest away," he said.

Story continues below…

"But if it involves larger commercial activities, we think that, at the very least, landowners should be consulted ahead of time."

Speaking with Sveriges Radio (SR), LRF general counsel Fredrik Bonde said the organisation hoped to have language inserted into Swedish environmental laws that would prohibit commercial activities that rely on the right of public access.

He added, however, that the process would likely take at least two to three years.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:59 January 6, 2011 by Civical
When I first saw the headline of this article I jumped to the conclusion that it was farming landowners trying to chip away at the right of access law ( I wish we had one in the U.K.) However reading further it would seem they have a point about the commercially organised berry picking, Morecambe Bay cockle picking springs to mind. I recommend looking up reports of the incident.
22:02 January 6, 2011 by americanska
of course they have point. it's their land and poeple are using it's productivity to make money...rent free. and the land owner has no rights.

hey why not just extend right to roam into people's homes as well...i mean, buying a home shouldn't give you the right to reject others' access.
00:15 January 7, 2011 by bocale1
@americanska, you missed the whole point here.

The Swedish Law says that you can own a piece of land but you cannot prevent others to enter it, based on the principle that the Swedish nature and wildlife is something that belongs to all people, not just the owners.

If you read the article, you can see that nobody is discussing this principle. We are not a new US state yet!

What landowners say is that they would like to prevent commercial activities carried over their lands unless agreed upfront. Which is a request that has a solid foundation, nothing to do with the right of individuals of entering these lands and that I fully support.
06:30 January 7, 2011 by UScitizen
@ bocale 1

First, I agree with the law, but I also agree with the farmers about commercial activities being carried out on their land. Some of these commercial activities are by companies using Vietnamese or other foreign workers, treating them like slaves and sending them home with more debt than they can ever repay. Why does the swedish government turn a blind eye to this? That's the law that should be chanbed first, the ability of companies to enslave and abuse poor foreign workers while the government does nothing?
11:33 January 7, 2011 by vildguide
This is a bit of a grey zone just now. According to Allemansrätten its ok to take small groups out once in a while to the same places on other peoples land. Allemansrätten also says that landowners should be informed when larger groups are taken onto other peoples land or when the same plces are used more regularly which would cuase wear and tear.

What Allemansrätten doesnt define is what a large group is or what would be considered as regular usage of the same area.

I see this more from the tourism side and I can say that there are many professional tourism companies who do inform and have contracts with landowners in places where other peoples land is often used.

Its the same for berry picking companies, thay should have contract with the landowners. What the berry picking companies are doing is using (or abusing) this grey area in Allemansrätten when they have large operations in the forests.

However the LRF is taking things out of proportion as many berry picking operations would have an absolute minimal impact on the forest. Berry pickers are often accommodated it villages and towns in the area and dont camp out in the forest. As with everything else there are only a few problem individuals who have a large impact on the forest and its those people who get most publicity.
23:54 January 10, 2011 by GLO
The farmers are right, its ownership use ofer free loaders with no skin in the game.
Today's headlines
Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available