Updated:3/1/2021

It is important to be aware of applicable legislation and relevant requirements for beach clean-up. This article provides you with an overview of the most important laws and some relevant provisions.

The most important laws are:

  • The Pollution Control Act
  • The Working Environment Act
  • The Outdoor Recreation Act
  • The Nature Diversity Act
  • The Animal Welfare Act
  • The Cultural Heritage Act
  • The Maritime Code
  • The Leisure Boats and Small Boats Act
  • The Ship Safety and Security Act
  • The Aviation Act
  • The Motorised Traffic Act
  • The Road Traffic Act
  • The Pollution Control Act

The purpose of this act is to protect the external environment against pollution and to reduce existing pollution. One of the key provisions is the duty to avoid pollution. The act is a framework act, i.e., because it contains detailed provisions to a lesser extent but allows for such provisions to be stipulated through regulations. 

The most important regulations are:

  • The regulations on the limitation of pollution (the Pollution Regulations)
  • The regulations on recycling and management of waste (the Waste Regulations)
  • The regulations on the limitation of the use of chemicals and other products that are harmful to health and the environment (the Product Regulations)
  • The regulations on the notification of acute pollution or risk of acute pollution

The Working Environment Act

The purpose of the Working Environment Act is, among other things, to ensure a working environment that provides complete protection against adverse physical and psychological impact.

The act applies to employment conditions and therefore generally applies only in cases where participation in clean-up operations takes place as part of work. In these cases, employees are protected by the provision concerning the working environment as set down in the act. This has an impact, among other things, on the safety measures the employer must ensure in connection with clean-up operations.

If an organiser exposes volunteers to risk, volunteers may be considered employees pursuant to the Working Environment Act following a comprehensive assessment. An organiser will therefore be responsible for preventing accidents during clean-up operations. The organiser must ensure that clean-up activities are planned, organised, and implemented in accordance with the requirements set out in the Working Environment Act. Stricter requirements apply to risk assessments and the measures that must be implemented if persons under the age of 18 attend. The requirements take into account age, experience and potential dangers. 

Read more about the use of volunteers here.

The Outdoor Recreation Act

This act contains the most important rules concerning the right to roam. The public access to uncultivated land is important for beach clean-up. This gives everyone public access to uncultivated land throughout the year, provided this occurs considerately and with care. For arable land, such as cultivated land, meadows and cultivated pastures, the public access is limited to parts of the year. Public access is permitted when the ground is frozen or snowy, but not during the period 30 April to 14 October.

In most cases, the beach will be defined as uncultivated land and unrestricted right of way on foot will be permitted. The same applies to the landing and mooring of boats. If the area is considered uncultivated land, anyone is entitled to land a boat on the beach for a brief period. However, the use of quays or piers is not permitted without consent from the owner.

Avoid damaging of the natural diversity when you perform clean-up activities. Photo: The Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment

The Nature Diversity Act

The purpose of this act is to protect nature and its biological, landscape and geological diversity and ecological processes. One of the most important provisions when it comes to beach clean-up is the general duty of care, which states that everyone must act with caution and take reasonable measures to prevent damage to natural diversity.

You must familiarise yourself with the applicable protective regulations for the areas in which beach clean-up will take place. When cleaning, you must take reasonable steps to avoid damage to the natural diversity. 

Be considerate of fauna when you are out cleaning. Photo: The Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment

The Animal Welfare Act

The purpose of this act is to promote good animal welfare, protect animals from danger and unnecessary stress and to increase respect for animals. Be considerate of and avoid disturbing animals and birds during clean-up operations. In addition, anyone who comes across an animal that is clearly unwell, injured, or helpless must help the animal to the extent possible. The provision also includes a duty to notify the owner or the police as necessary in order to provide adequate assistance. 

The Cultural Heritage Act

The purpose of this act is to protect cultural heritages and cultural environments both as part of our cultural heritage and as part of comprehensive environment and resource management.

Cultural heritage includes all traces of human activity in our physical environment, including locations associated with historical events, faiths, or tradition. There are also areas where cultural heritage is part of a larger whole or context.

There are prohibitions against interventions that may harm, destroy, excavate, move, alter, cover, conceal or otherwise taint cultural heritage sites or involve a risk that this could happen. In connection with beach clean-ups, it is therefore important to be especially vigilant if you will be cleaning in areas that contain cultural monuments or cultural environments. Prior to each clean-up operation, you must check whether the clean-up area is covered by the Cultural Heritage Act.

The same principle shall also largely apply to non-fixed monuments or relics that you may come across during a clean-up operation. Non-fixed monuments or relics must be protected against damage and the finder must notify the police without delay.

The Maritime Code

The Maritime Code is one of the most important acts within maritime law, which constitutes the legal regulations applicable to shipping and maritime transport. The main focus of the act is on vessels with a length of 15 metres or more. Small boats with a maximum length of up to 15 metres and leisure boats with a maximum length of 24 meters are governed by the Norwegian act relating to leisure boats and small boats.

Some of the key provisions of the Norwegian Maritime Code in relation to beach clean-up are the rules concerning transport of passengers and luggage, which are relevant when transporting people, equipment or waste in connection with clean-up operations.

It is important to be aware of the laws and regulations applicable to boat traffic if you are using boats during beach clean-ups. Photo: The Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment

The Leisure Boats and Small Boats Act

The scope of the act covers boats with a maximum length of up to 15 metres and leisure boats with a maximum length of 24 metres. As for the Norwegian Maritime Code, provisions concerning equipment, requirements concerning the captain of the boat and licenses will be key factors associated with the transport of people, equipment and waste. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

Please refer to the ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Norwegian Maritime Authority’s website for further information about the regulations applicable to leisure boats.

The Ship Safety and Security Act

This act is intended to protect life and health, the environment and material assets by facilitating proper ship safety and security management, including preventing pollution from ships, ensuring a properly safe working environment and safe working conditions on board the ship, as well as proper and timely supervision. 

The scope of the act is ships with a maximum length of less than 24 metres that are not used for business activities. In addition to provisions concerning safety and security management, technical and operational safety, separate provisions also exist for environmental safety. This includes a prohibition against the pollution of the external environment through operations or dumping, requirements concerning the required contingency on board to avert or limit the impact of pollution from the ship, as well as the captain’s duty of notification in the event of any pollution.

The Aviation Act

This act also governs the use of drones.

Drones can be used to map marine litter. Photo: Jaysun Chackal, Pixabay

When using drones during clean-up operations, it is important to be aware of the regulations. The drone operator is responsible for staying informed of the rules applicable at any time. If you do not comply with the applicable regulations, you could be liable for both fines and other sanctions.

From and including 01/01/2021, all drone pilots with drones equipped with cameras that are heavier than 250 grams must register at the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway’s flydrone.no website.

You can learn more about the use of drones from the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway.

The Motorised Traffic Act

In wilderness and watercourses, motor traffic is generally not permitted courses unless special permission has been issued by an authorised authority. This also includes the use of helicopters.

Such permission may be granted by the local authority through local regulations or by application.

Motor traffic in wilderness may be necessary in connection with the transport of people, equipment, and waste, as well as in connection with the use of heavy machinery for clean-up activities. In such situations, it is important to check the local rules that apply and whether it is necessary to apply to the local authority for permission.

The Road Traffic Act

The transport of people, equipment, and waste in connection with beach cleaning may take place on roads, either using cars or other vehicles or on foot. The basic traffic rules set down in the Norwegian Road Traffic Act shall apply in such situations.

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