Proposal aims to make it easier to find homes for Ukrainian refugees

The government has put forward a proposal to introduce emergency powers in the Planning and Building Act to speed up the process of welcoming and finding homes for refugees from Ukraine.

 

Many Ukrainian refugees have already arrived in Norway, and we must be prepared for many thousands more to follow in their footsteps. It is important that Ukrainians who come here are housed as soon as possible.

“An important prerequisite in order to succeed in this regard is that there are sufficient homes for them around the municipalities. It is important that municipalities are given greater freedom to act, so that they can quickly and efficiently find sufficient homes for refugees. The government is therefore proposing to introduce temporary emergency powers in the Planning and Building Act,” says Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Sigbjørn Gjelsvik.

The proposed emergency powers have been distributed for consultation, and adjustments have been made to take account of the extensive and useful feedback that the ministry received.

The emergency powers will enable municipalities to grant exemptions from designated land uses and existing planning decisions. Municipalities will for example be able to expand the area of a school without having to submit a planning application. It also opens up the possibility of converting holiday homes into dwellings. This will be an important step in ensuring the rapid establishment of refugee reception facilities, care centres, kindergartens and schools.

“Wherever possible, we want the normal case handling procedures under the Planning and Building Act to be followed. At the same time, the situation we are facing is quite extraordinary, necessitating extraordinary measures. It is important that municipalities have the tools they need to house refugees quickly.

With a view to facilitating emergency preparedness, the proposal will also enable municipalities to grant exemptions for the erection of permanent new homes. Existing housing stock should be used for housing wherever possible and appropriate. The exemption for permanent new homes will therefore primarily apply if sufficient homes cannot be found in any other way.