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Building permits

Recycling stations are not usually included in zoning plans. This is unfortunate, because the issue of building permits for recycling stations would otherwise be guaranteed. The paragraphs and provisions of the Swedish Planning and Building Act that can help you obtain a building permit are set out below.

Municipal zoning and land-use regulations determine what type of building permits can be issued, and where. FTI’s recycling stations are most appropriately defined as “depots” according to the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (Boverket), and a depot requires a building permit under the Planning and Building Act (2010:900).


Recycling is considered “in the public interest”

According to two paragraphs of the Planning and Building Act (Chap. 9, Sections 31 b and 31 c), a building permit may be issued for a recycling station that is not included in the zoning plan if it is in the public interest. These two paragraphs have been applied for more than half of FTI’s granted building permits.

A recycling station serves an environmental purpose on the grounds that increased recycling reduces environmental impacts. This circumstance is important for a balancing of interests. When weighing up the respective interests of the recycling station and individuals, the County Administrative Board usually rules in favor of the former.

In order for either of the two paragraphs to apply, the area covered by the recycling station must be either minor in relation to the zoning or land use regulations, or the implementation period for the zoning plan must have expired.

Some of the sites for which FTI has used provisions to obtain a building permit for recycling stations include residential areas, streets, commercial areas, industrial sites, parking, parks and gardens.


Temporary building permits

One alternative is temporary building permits. These may be issued if “some but not all criteria for a building permit are met.” Recycling is not really a temporary measure, but a recycling station may need to be temporarily relocated or a more suitable site may not be available, which means that the need for a particular site is temporary.

A temporary building permit may now be granted for a maximum of ten years and then extended for a maximum of five years.


Long processes and more appeals

The disadvantage with these types of building permits, where recycling is not included in the zoning plan, is that the process takes longer, and neighbors and local residents often appeal both the application for, and issuance of, the building permit. A building permit that is first appealed to the county administrative board and then to a land and environment court can take more than two years to gain legal force.

The most common complaints are related to littering, but maintenance is not a criteria for the issue of building permits according to the Skåne County Administrative Board. The County Administrative Board’s justification is “used properly, a recycling station should not give rise to such inconvenience.”