The general right gives everyone In Sweden the right to move freely in nature. But what made it easier for today’s travelers creates uncertainty for landowners.
Allemansrätten developed long before today’s society. When there was no highway or roadside inn, travelers had to let the horses rest and graze along the hiking trail. Today we live in a different world. Horses were replaced by caravans and grazing by commercial berry-pickers. You have created conflict instead of freedom.
Some claim that the right of all persons is a right of Sweden. This is true to some extent. But access to nature is not unique. Many countries that have outdoor culture have legislation for this. These are countries such as Norway, Finland, Iceland and Great Britain. What separates these countries from Sweden is that the interests of the landowners come before the visitor.
Today we can see how the lax view of the monarchy is exploited in Sweden. The most well-known problem is large groups of berry pickers. They clean other people’s forests in search of berries and mushrooms. They are then free to sell them for their own financial gain. The landowner has no right to prevent them or demand compensation. Even riding schools and guided tours are allowed to move freely.
To a modest extent, this has very little impact on nature. But several times a day every day of the week quickly becomes harmful. The earth is trampled and wildlife is disturbed.
Undisciplined common law Contributes to the destruction of nature. To avoid this, it is necessary to limit the general right. It should be up to the landowner to decide which business activities can be conducted on the land. And most importantly, we prevent the public right from further swelling.
We also have a responsibility to pass on to future generations what is permitted in nature, something that becomes increasingly important as more and more people lack an understanding of land ownership and rural life. Here we can follow in the footsteps of our Nordic friends. But in order to be able to guarantee the constitutionally protected property rights of the landowners, stress is required.
Today’s generous interpretation of common law must be replaced by a new system that takes more account of property rights. Today, we have a commons right which largely prevents building and limits the landowner’s opportunities to farm and live off the land.
It’s time to level the balance. Landowners should be given more say.
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