Temporary change to regulation on motor traffic in Svalbard

The Governor of Svalbard has decided to temporarily change the regulation on motor traffic in Svalbard. The changes will apply until 1 June 2023. The background for the regulation is the need to protect habitats and avoid disturbance of ice-dependent species.

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Published 3/7/2023

The change in regulations will result in traffic restrictions on Tempelfjorden and Billefjorden. It is opened for crossing in corridors and on the shortest possible route. The proposal for a temporary change to the regulations was submitted for consultation on 02/02/2023.

The Governor received a total of nine consultation responses. Among other things, the mayor has received input that a corridor should be opened from Kapp Schoultz to Von Postbreen, and from Rudmosepynten to Skottehytta. The Governor has considered proposals for alternative routes, but has concluded that corridors leading to the glacier front will not be in line with the purpose of the regulation, which is to protect the habitats and prevent disturbance of the ice-dependent species.

This year there is almost no sea ice, and the Governor believes it is important to protect the very limited ice-covered areas that ice-dependent species, such as ringed seals and polar bears, have left.

If there is a special need for driving in these areas, an application must be made for a dispensation in accordance with the Motor Traffic Regulations.

Otherwise, reference is made to the consultation letter for further information on the knowledge base and the Governor's assessment of the need for temporary change.