Morten Fjeldberg was Secretary General of the Federation of Norwegian Conservative Students 2000-2003, a time when it had great co-operation with Conservative Future. Group secretary of the Conservative Party group on Fredrikstad city council 1997-2003, city councillor 1995-2003 and spokesman on social affairs.
Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition David Cameron MP has just visited Norway.
The purpose of the visit was to study impact of climate changes and Mr Cameron therefore first took the trip to Svalbard, which is Norwegian territory.
Svalbard is uniquely governed. The Governor of Svalbard is the Norwegian government’s supreme representative in the archipelago. The institution is quite unique in Norway in that it heads a department of environment conservation and a police unit. It also deals with several other fields.
The Governor of Svalbard is the highest authority in Svalbard. Administratively he reports to the Ministry of Justice, but the office carries out tasks for a number of other ministries as well, for instance, the Ministry of Environment.
Mr Cameron also had the experience of riding a dogsled and visiting one of the most remote, but also unique places on earth.
Then he went to Oslo, Norways capital, where he met with Oslo Chief Commissioner Mr Ewrling Lae. Mr Lae represents the Norwegian Conservative Party (Høyre), which together with the Progressive Party form the City Government of Oslo. As part of Mr Cameron’s new campaign for the Conservatives he learned about Oslos environmental policies.
The City of Oslo Waste Management Authority was established in 1897. In 1932 the municipality was given sole responsibility for the collection of all household waste in Oslo. The households finance the waste service by paying a mandatory fee. Today commercial waste transport operators carry out the collection based on 5-year contracts. The yearly total of waste from 270,000 households is 150,000 tonnes. The Waste Management Authority also offers handling of commercial waste and hazardous waste received at the municipal waste treatment plants.
The residual waste, after sorting out the household of various fractions as paper, glass and metal packaging, textiles and hazardous waste, is delivered to one of Oslo’s two incineration plants. They deliver energy to district heating and to production of electricity, in total equalling the requirements of 10% of the households in the city. Households deliver furniture and other bulky objects to two large recycling stations. Glass and metal packaging is delivered to 400 collection sites throughout the city. Paper is sorted in separate bins at the source.
As less is being landfilled, the Grønmo plant’s importance as a plant for sorting and recycling of waste has increased. The landfill will be closed in 2007. Gas from already closed landfill are as is collected and led through pipes to the Klemetsrud waste-to-energy plant for production of electricity. Grønmo also has a recycling station.
Finally Mr Cameron met with the leader of Høyre Mrs Erna Solberg MP and former Minister for Environment Mr Børge Brende MP and held a speech for party members at the Conservative Central Office in Oslo. The Conservative Party and Høyre were co-founders of the now defunct European Democrat Union (EDU) and they work closely together in the International Democrat Union. Recently, the secretariat of IDU moved from London to Oslo, and now Mr Eirik Moen is Executive Secretary of IDU. Mr Moen is former Secretary General of Høyre and former state secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Høyre is now in opposition and has only 23 out of 169 MPs in the Norwegian Parliament (Storting). We lost heavily at the General Election September 2005.
Let us hope that the visit by the Tory leader will bring valuable knowledge in the Conservative campaign, and that the co-operation between the Conservative Party and Høyre can further develop under Prime Minister Cameron!