Swedish Environmental Legislation


Swedish environmental law has developed out of general principles of civil law. It was not until Swedish industrialisation in the late 19th century that the first “real” environmental legislation started to emerge.

The development of environmental legislation in Sweden was to a large extent driven by the new challenges that society was facing due to industrialisation. A major consolidation and reform of the environment legal framework in Sweden took place in 1999 when the Environmental Code entered into force, replacing fifteen previous environmental acts.

The aim of this reform was to reduce the number of acts dating from various eras which made the environmental legislation complex and fragmented, and therefore harder to enforce.

Sweden’s membership in the European Community in 1995 also necessitated a review of the legal framework structure. The purpose of the Environmental Code is to promote sustainable development. It is applicable to all persons and operators who undertake activities or measures which could impact on the fulfilment of the objectives of the Environmental Code.

Its provisions concern, amongst other, management of land and water, nature conservation, protection of flora and fauna, environmentally hazardous activities, water operations, genetic engineering, chemical products and waste management.

Consequently, the Environmental Code has a broad scope. Apart from material provisions, the Environmental Code also sets out the basic framework for implementing environmental protection through its provisions on procedure, supervision, sanctions as well as provisions on compensation and environmental damages. This includes provisions which set out a permit regime for environmentally hazardous activities as well as for water operations. Many activities and operations are subject to permit, and may not commence until a permit has been issued by the competent authority. The permit for environmentally hazardous activities and/or water operations sets out the scope for the activity concerned. It must also state the conditions under which the activity may be carried out.


The purpose of the Code is to promote sustainable development

which will assure a healthy and sound environment for present and future

generations. It states furthermore that the Code shall be applied so as to

ensure that:

Human health and the environment are protected against damage and

nuisance, whether caused by pollutants or other impacts;

Valuable natural and cultural environments are protected and preserved;

Biological diversity is preserved;

The use of land, water and the physical environment in other respects

is such as to secure a long term good management in ecological, social,

cultural and economic terms; and

Reuse and recycling, as well as other management of materials, raw materials

and energy are encouraged with a view to establishing and maintaining

natural cycles.

Students from Vipan visit the Sea-U Marine Knowledge Center in Malmö, Sweden

Wednesday, 22nd November, our students visited the Sea-U Marine Knowledge Center and learned more about environmental issues affecting the ocean. They also worked with the UN Global Goals. Rubbish, wastewater and chemicals ultimately end up in the ocean. In the Baltic Sea we have had a long time problems with poisons like PCB and dioxin, while in recent years there have been alarms about microplasts, microfibers and drug residues. In the Pacific, it flows around large plastic islands of plastic, and if we continue as now, by 2050, it will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Many of the animals of the ocean eat and are damaged by plastic bags, the strips of plastic bands and tiny plastic pieces are stored in their bodies. Another problem is the so-called ghost nets, ie fish nets drifting around and killing lots of fish and other animals. The synthetic materials are not broken down by nature, and the network can therefore continue to sail around year after year.


Fishing at the Baltic See

Seafood is a common part of our diet and often considered as a popular healthy choice. Too often consumers are unaware of the problems behind the seafood they see in their plate – of the harmful or wasteful fisheries and rapid decline in the numbers of fish to catch out at sea.

The Baltic Sea drains through narrow passages by the Danish islands into the Kattegat by way of the straits of Øresund, the Great Belt, and the Little Belt. It includes the Gulf of Bothnia, the Bay of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland, the Gulf of Riga, and the Bay of Gdańsk.

There have been drastic changes to the Baltic fish populations causing ripple effects for the entire Baltic Sea ecosystem as well as causing changes to lower levels of the food chain and contributing to other problems such as eutrophication, that is the enrichment of a water body with nutrients, usually with an excess amount of nutrients. This process induces growth of plants and algae and due to the biomass load, may result in oxygen depletion of the water body.

Too many boats and inadequate control mechanisms – continues to put fish stocks, marine ecosystems and coastal communities at risk.

Sweden’s professional fisherman is getting less. More effective fishing – and as everyone knows at this point – years of brutal overfishing have made both fish and profitability of the fish disappear.

Since the turn of the millennium, every third Swedish professional fisherman has left the profession. In 2000, the 2300 professional fishermen are today the number 1600.

Overfishing does not only deplete the specific fish caught, it also changes the sea’s food web structures. Predators, such as seals and seabirds are affected negatively when the fish they normally eat decrease, while prey fish and organisms increase and take over as their natural predators like cod in the Baltic Sea disappear.

Kåseberga is a picturesque fishing village on the South East coast of Skåne, with about 120 inhabitants. They welcome about 700 000 visitors every year, who visit the village. Here we eat fried herring on our trip on October 11th. Karmenu Vella, EU-Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, said: ”We are proposing a balanced package that will ensure sustainable fisheries in the Baltic Sea. The good news is that important quotas for Baltic herring (is what we eat here) and salmon can be increased. Responsible management measures by Member States and the fishing industry are paying off. Now we must learn from these success stories and act urgently for those stocks that are still in a worrying state, like the European eel.”

Fishing in the Baltic Sea is regulated by the European Common Fisheries Policy. Specific quotas are set for each of the most important commercial species. Because the quotas historically have been higher than the reproductive capacity of the ecosystem, they have led to decreased or depleted fish stocks. Overfishing also occurs through by-catch and illegal fishing.

A major solution to improving the fish populations in the Baltic Sea is to stop overfishing, implementing sustainable fisheries management and reducing harmful fishing practices.

That is why WWF is working together with fishermen, governments, regional body Baltic Sea Advisory Council and market players in the seafood industry to change the trend in overfishing and over consumption of seafood.

There are five main targeted fish species in the Baltic Sea, namely cod. Salmon, herring, plaice and sprat – all managed under the CFP. WWF is advocating for long-term management plans for these species which include set management guidelines with adequate closures in marine protected areas and other defined sensitive areas where they spawn or feed

At the meeting of the Council of Ministers on 9-10 October, the EU Fisheries Ministers decided on quotas for Baltic fishing for 2018. The species covered include cod, herring, sprat, salmon and plaice.

Everything is connected. Both the activities out at sea as well as on land have an impact on the wellbeing of fish stocks and overall marine ecosystem of the Baltic Sea.

And…The ticking time-bomb at the bottom of the Baltic Sea

Based on decisions made at the Potsdam Conference in 1945 where Stalin, Churchill, and Truman met, Britain and the Soviet Union dumped about 65,000 tons of Nazi chemical weapons into the rather shallow waters of the Baltic Sea (average depth, 55 meters/180 feet).

Recent research by Poland’s Military University of Technology has found traces of mustard gas on the sea bed just a few hundred meters off the Polish coast, in the Gulf of Gdansk. This indicates corrosion of the metal, and that poisonous chemicals are now leaking into the water and could be absorbed by fish, entering the food chain.

An app can help you choice. “Fiskeguiden”

The students in the first year have worked on water quality at Lund University. We are preparing our continued work with a focus on trade.





Italian colleagues are at job shadowing at Vipan 21 / 8-1 / 9

Headmistress Rosella Uda (left in the picture) and history teacher Giuliana Damurtas from IIS ”G.A. Pischedda”, from Sardinia (Bosa) in Italy, will stay with us for two weeks and learn about how our school works. Giuliana will follow me, Martin Martinez. Rosella will follow the school leadership and get into the Swedish school system and how the school is run. Their school in Bosa is a high school with both theoretical and vocational programs, including Hotels, Restaurant and Nature. Pupils and teachers together run a whole farm with the production of everything from cheese and sausage to wine, open to the public.

Second meeting, 24-28 april

For a whole week, four groups representing Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and Sweden have gathered in Lund to work around our project. In addition to social activities aimed at bringing together our students, we have had four activities related to the environmental work: one on energy (clean energy) when we visited the eolian installation in Lillegrund, second largest in the world, between Sweden and Denmark, which produce energy that is sufficient for 60,000 households in Sweden. The second activity was a presentation of the work done in the different schools. The students presented to share their experiences. As the third activity we visited The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), University of Lund, founded in 1994. The vision of the IIIEE is to advance strategies for sustainable solutions through cutting edge interdisciplinary research. Professor Håkan Rodhe, specialist in strategies for sustainable consumption and lifestyles presented their activities for the group. The fourth activity was the planning of the continued project work.



Project meeting in Lund, 24-28 April 2017


This week we will hold our second project meeting in Lund. Young people from Spain, Italy and Bulgaria as well as their teachers meet in Lund to see how far they have come into their work of mapping environmental policy and environmental problems in our respective countries. We have been received by Lund mayor Lennart Prytz and the first working day ended in a log cabin in the Skrylle forest.

Swedish newspaper ”Skånska Dagbladet” Writes about our project today, April 25, 2017