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Little change in access to outdoor recreation

Target

3.1 Everyone will have the opportunity to take part in outdoor recreation as a healthy and environmentally sound leisure activity that provides a sense of well-being both in their local communities and further afield in the countryside.

Indicator

Proportion of homes, schools and day care centres in selected towns and urban areas with safe access to nearby outdoor recreation areas within a distance of 500 metres
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Are we moving in the right direction? Published by the Norwegian Environment Agency

About half of the population of Norway's towns and urban areas have safe access to areas suitable for outdoor recreation, according to calculations by Statistics Norway. The agency surveyed access to such areas in all Norway's municipalities in 2011 and 2013. The surveys look at access to two size categories of areas suitable for outdoor recreation:

  • the percentage of residents, dwellings, schools and day care centres with safe access to large outdoor recreation areas (at least 20 hectares) within a distance of 500 metres
  • the percentage of residents, dwellings, schools and day care centres with safe access to small outdoor recreation areas (at least 0.5 hectares) within a distance of 200 metres.

Figures for 2013 show that about 49 % of people who live in towns and built-up areas have safe access to large outdoor recreation areas and about 55 % have access to smaller areas.

Substantial variation in access to large outdoor recreation areas

The surveys show that safe access to nearby outdoor recreation areas varies with the size of town or urban area. For small outdoor recreation areas, there is relatively little variation – from six of ten people in small urban areas to five of ten people in the larger towns.

Access to large outdoor recreation areas varies more. In the smallest urban areas, more than seven of ten people have safe access to such areas, whereas this is only the case for four of ten people in the largest towns. Only three of ten people living in large residential buildings such as blocks of flats have safe access to large outdoor recreation areas.

Slight improvement in access to outdoor recreation areas

From 2011 to 2013, access to large outdoor recreation areas has remained more or less unchanged, but there has been a certain increase in access to small outdoor recreation areas (3 percentage points). This is partly because a number of municipalities have reduced speed limits on residential roads from 40 or 50 km/hour to 30 km/hour. This means that more people can access areas that are suitable for outdoor recreation without crossing roads that are considered to be a barrier to access (defined in terms of traffic volumes and speed limits).