Aukra: the remote Atlantic island drowning in cash

"We hit the jackpot” ... Merete Mikkelsen, business association head, with mayor Bernhard Riksfjord. Photograph: Einar Engdal

"We hit the jackpot” ... Merete Mikkelsen, business association head, with mayor Bernhard Riksfjord. Photograph: Einar Engdal

In his Norway Diary, Le Monde’s Olivier Truc visits Aukra, a small island off the Norwegian coast that is awash with cash from business tax proceeds after a gas terminal was built there.

People on Aukra, a small island off the Atlantic coast of Norway, are surprised to see visitors. Usually they advise them to carry on to Ona, an even more remote but prettier island. Ona has old houses but the population is in decline and it is turning into a museum, while Aukra has “won the lottery”, according to Merete Mikkelsen, a hairdresser and head of Aukra’s employers’ association.

This fiscal year, for the first time since the Ormen Lange gas terminal was built, Aukra’s local council banked $21m in business tax, twice as much as in the previous year. Back in 2003, just before parliament decided to locate the terminal at Aukra, the island’s tax revenue was under 1% of the current sum.

Read the story on Guardianweekly.co.uk

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