Parliamentary hearing: Multi-functionality in the Danish landscape

April 7, 2016

On April 7th 2016, parliamentary politicians from almost every political party attended the Danish Board of Technology Foundations’ hearing at Christiansborg on the future Danish land use titled “Multi-functionality in the Danish landscape”. The politicians were attentive and inquisitive as to how they should tackle the challenge of having plans for 130% of the landscape available. Politicians and experts alike referred to the results from the citizens’ summit hosted by The Danish Board of Technology Foundation in January where 250 citizens discussed this very topic.

Background

In Denmark we need to prioritize the future land use. The cities are expanding into the countryside, there is a need for more roads and railroads and at the same time, agriculture as well as nature needs space. In a densely populated country such as Denmark, the stage is set for extensive conflicts between the many internally opposing interests. At this hearing, an overview of dilemmas and possibilities associated with the Danish landscape and perspectives for new kinds of multifunctional use in the future were presented. It focused on forests, agriculture, nature, energy or outdoor interests, etc.

More nature

The matter of an improved Danish biodiversity – the diversity of nature – was one of the hearing’s most debated subjects and all the participants agreed that everyone wants more woodland in Denmark. Several politicians asked about the future of the forest from two different perspectives; one focusing on production and one where nature was allowed to remain untouched. One conclusion was that there must be established a new balance between wild nature and forestry in the Danish forests.

Agricultural distribution of land

Under the topic of Agriculture, the distribution of land received special attention. The Danish landscape was characterized as a stamp collection; small, disconnected areas which demand a lot of time and transportation across the plots.

There is a need for legislative initiatives which might help create larger areas in the open country, for the sake of rational production as well as a more coherent nature. The citizens wanted the politicians to apply less compartmentalized thinking on agricultural subsidies and an increased focus on transverse initiatives between different types of areas and purposes. Experts and participants alike pointed to the continuously increasing number of experiences on the distribution of land where plots are exchanged between plot owners and increased local engagement and ownership with regard to its usage.

The general attitude at the hearing was a joint will and consensus to accept the 130% planning as a national challenge. The politicians asked the experts’ advice on useable planning tools for the different themes of the day and “dialogue” was a repeating buzzword at the parliamentary hearing.