Construction in the coastal zone

Updated: 5 July 2022

Next update: 30 June 2023

Share of potentially accessible coastal area
Share of potentially accessible coastal area

About the statistics

These statistics provide information about land use and construction in the Norwegian coastal zone, also known as the 100-meter belt, including islands with mainland connection by bridge or ferry. In addition, the statistics include the 100-meter belt around the main rivers and lakes.

Building: The statistics cover all the main building (not on / extension) greater than 15 m 2, which is initiated and not reported demolished, burnt down or otherwise, all buildings in the cadastre. This includes residential, condominiums, commercial buildings, sheds and boathouses, wharfs, docks, diving tower, etc are not included, and there is no central record of this.

As a general rule, the freestanding building units shall have its own building number. Connected units can be assigned individual building numbers when building parts can be described independently.

Terraced where each dwelling unit located on the ground assigned one building number for each dwelling. Semi-detached and semi-detached units which are equal shall be assigned a building number for each device. Other hand, shall be horizontal-detached, four-family houses and larger residential buildings in which units are located above each assigned one building number for the entire building.

Building works started: Up until 1999, a building work is considered started when the groundwork works start. From the year 2000, for buildings that are processed by an application in accordance with the Planning and Building Act § 21 generally used date for granted building permit as the date of commissioning.

Exemption applications for construction in the coastal zone: Exemption from complying with law or regulation. Exemptions may be granted by the authorities if accepted by law and under special circumstances. For more information see Planning and Building Act

Objection: An objection or protest by a public authority to a planning proposal that are sent out for consultation. Opposition Institute is created to ensure that national and regional interests are protected in municipal planning. If the objection is rejected or, failing agreement, determined opposition of the Ministry.

Coastline: The transition between land and sea at mid-high tide line. (See explanation of data sources in the Data Sources and selection)

Potentially accessible coastal zone: Coastal area that is not closer than 50 meters to the nearest building, not agricultural land, or road or railway area. Water surfaces are not included in the statistics over the coastal zone area nor are islands without bridge or boat ferry connection to the mainland.

The statistics are generated based on a geographical merge of the data layers mentioned following priority order in order to avoid double counting.

Building near area (<50m): Shoreline area that developed (buildings footprint regardless building type) or 50 meters from the outer wall to the following building types:

All types of homes except boathouses, boathouse and warehouses. The argument for not including boat house, boat house and warehouses is that around these generally available to the public most of the year.
Industrial Buildings.
Hotel buildings but not other buildings for accommodation or restaurant building, since the latter two are considered to be available to the public.

Road area: Essentially it used surfaces from FKB way. Where this is not possible, data from the National Road database is used with the following buffer widths:

Europaveg:, 4.5 meters from the center line, a total of 9 meters.

Riksveg: 3.5 meters from the center line, a total of 7 meters.

Fylkesveg: 2.5 meters from the center line, a total of 5 meters.

Kommunal veg: 2 meters from the center line, a total of 4 meters.

Railway Area: Areas within 6 meters from the center line on a single track railway or 11 meters from the center line of a multi-track railway.

Watercourses: Lakes and larger rivers. For the calculations we use the main watercourse as stipulated under "Data Sources and Selection" above and add these together with lake data from FKB.

Differentiated coastal management: New planning guidelines were established in 2011 to allow for a differentiated coastal management on a regional level. This means a stronger geographical differentiation where the coastal zone is protected to a higher degree in areas with more pressure on land resources due to construction activity. The coastal zone is split into three main areas:

A. Municipalities along the coast of Oslo Fjord

B. Other areas with high pressure on land resources

C. Areas with low pressure on land resources



Name: Construction in the coastal zone
Topic: Nature and the environment

30 June 2023

Division for Housing, Property, Spatial and Agricultural Statistics

Municipalities, counties, national level



Data are stored on NT-server as SAS-, XLS, ARCINFO cover, ESRI filgeodatabase files.

SSB has since 2003 published official statistics for the building activity in the coastal zone. In addition, SSB started in 2003 to present figures for exemptions in the 100-meter coastal zone from KOSTRA reporting on physical planning in municipalities and counties. The purpose of the coastal zone statistics is to follow changes in land use along the coast and municipal practices regarding exemptions in the coastal zone.

Report No. 26 2006-2007:'' The Government's environmental policy and state of the environment'' contained the following strategic objectives for outdoor environmental policy:'' Everyone should have the opportunity to practice outdoor activities that promote health and wellbeing and environmental activities in the community and in the countryside .''

Norwegian Environment Agency followed up the goal by developing a methodology for quantifying one of the key figures during the performance 2RM3:'' Proportion of the coastal zone accessible for outdoor activities, a long the coast from the Swedish border to the county of Hordaland''. In 2007-2008 the Norwegian Environment Agency and Statistics Norway worked together for adapting a methodology for the whole Norwegian coastal zone.

Statistics Norway published statistics over accessible coastal zone, for the first time, on the 26. June 2009.

In July 2009 came the new planning provisions of the new Planning and Building Act in force and includes a new section on building prohibition which also includes the watercourses. To reflect the changes along waterways Statistics Norway chose, in 2010, to produce statistics for the proportion of affected watercourse affected by buildings.

In 2011, Statistcs Norway continued developing the statistics based on inputs from the users of the statistics and has now a stronger focus on land use.

The statistics is mainly used by the public, the civil administration as well as for research purposes.

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The statistics relate to statistics over land use and land resources : , statisics over building activities and KOSTRA:

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The statistics include the 100-meter belt along the Norwegian coast including islands with mainland connection by bridge or ferry. In addition, the statistics include the 100-meter belt around the main rivers and lakes.

Only buildings recorded in official property register, the Norwegian Cadastre, are included in the statistics. This means that piers, fences and other buildings elements that are not registered in accordance with law and regulations are not included in the statistics.

In order to quantify the key figure and related statistics annually on a cost-effective manner in which it is appropriate to utilize existing databases and maps of updated records. Coastal zone statistics are based on the following basic data from Norway Digital.

The Norwegian Cadastre: The main data sources for coastal shoreline statistics are buildings registered in the Cadastre.

Felles kartbase (FKB): The coastline of statistics on land use status in the coastal zone is based on new coast line data from the Norwegian Mapping Authority. Water line and surface theme of FKB is also used in building statistics of the sweet water courses.

Buildings (surfaces) from FKB with building data from the cadastre data constitutes the foundation of buildings.

Roads from FKB are combined with road data from the national road database.

The water course statistics is based on the Cadastre, FKB, Urban areas in combination with river data from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).

To quantify the proportion of watercourses influenced by buildings a selection of water courses was carried out only including the main water courses. To distinguish the main rivers from smaller rivers data from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) was used. NVE use of the international river system Strahler order on entering the rivers. The order of Strahler was used to determine the water courses of importance.

Local and exemptions are collected via KOSTRA (KOmmune-STat-RApportering) .

Not based on surveys, but based on registers. For data collected via KOSTRA query total populations, but missing data values is possible

Based on maps, registers, the use of GIS and data collected through KOSTRA (municipalities to the state reporting). All coastal municipalities have to report on dispensations applied for and granted

Registrations of buildings conducted by the municipalities, controls conducted by the Norwegian mapping authorities. Data collected through KOSTRA (municipalities to the state reporting) are subject to revision in the KOSTRA-system.

The proportion of building-influenced coastline is calculated on the basis of buildings and the coastline as geo data sets. Around each building a circle of 100 metres is constructed. Those parts of the coastline which fall within the circles is considered as being building-influenced.

Land use

Due to mass registration of base line data over crop land, road and rail in recent years, estimates of changes back in time do not necessarily show the real land use changes but improve the data quality. Figures for previous years for these land use categories are therefore based on figures for 1 January of the current year.

Cadastre registrations

Figures for buildings in the building statistics rely on dates for when permits are registered by the municipality in the Cadastre (Matrikkelen). A building permit does not always mean that construction will be started at once.

Due to delays in the registration of building start permits from local authorities, preliminary figures are presented for the number og building start permits granted in the last year before publication.

The statistics on buildings do not cover changes to dwellings caused by rebuilding of existing building stock (i.e. new dwellings due to reconstruction of utility floor space from industry to dwellings).

New in 2017:

The coding of the coastal zone (mainland - islands with mainland connection - islands) has been recalculated with the newest road network, which has improved data for bridge and ferry connections.

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Calculations are made from 2000 and onward. The statistics are comparable in time and space, but the quality of the Norwegian Cadastre will vary over the years.

The definitions of KOSTRA may vary over time

The sources of error are mainly connected to the quality and completeness in the Norwegian Cadastre and geospatial data used.

For KOSTRA there will be uncertainty attached to errors in the data reported from the municipalities.

KOSTRA may have errors connected to missing data. Not relevant for the rest

Changes in the coordinates of buildings occur from time to time because of quality improvements. To avoid these changes to be reflected in the figures, we have used last years register to calculate previous years figures based on year of construction. Buildings which are pulled down will thus not be represented in the figures. The building register is somewhat in arrears.

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