Reykjanes Eruption: Off-road Driving Won't Be Permitted Skip to content

Reykjanes Eruption: Off-road Driving Won’t Be Permitted

By Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir

People admiring lava flowing from the crater in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes peninsula
Photo: Golli. People admiring lava flowing from the crater in Geldingadalur on the Reykjanes peninsula.

The Environment Agency of Iceland has reported nine incidents of off-road driving at the Eruption site in the Reykjanes Peninsula to the police, RÚV reports. The Agency will not grant exemptions from the off-road driving ban for special circumstances but cinematographers can apply for a special permit.

The Environment Agency of Iceland is in direct contact with the Polices’ Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Response as well as landowners in the area over access to the eruption site. No road leads to the area so driving to the eruption site is categorised as off-road driving. There is one accessible path to the eruption but vehicular traffic is limited to emergency responders, scientists and the media. While the Environment Agency has the authority to grant exemptions from the ban on off-road driving under special circumstances such as disabilities, after consulting with the Department of Civil Protection and landowners, the Environment Agency has decided not to grant any such exemptions for driving to the eruption site. They reason that the path needs to be accessible for emergency responders and doesn’t tolerate much traffic. The area is subject to considerable damage. Authorities are looking into ways to grant vehicular access to the area in the future.

Icelandic nature protection legislation also grants the Environment Agency the authority to issue special permits for off-road driving for the purposes of cinematography if the project cannot be executed any other way. Such applications can be sent through the Environment Agency’s service portal but are subject to a processing fee.

Most people approach the eruption by hiking to the eruption site but for those who don’t care to hike, there’s the option of going by helicopter or small plane.

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