The Environment Agency of Iceland will now let you drive off-road in Iceland, provided you are filming a motion picture or a commercial here.
RÚV reports that the decision was made based on a request made to the Agency last January from parties wishing to film a car commercial in Iceland. This commercial would include the depiction of off-road driving.
The Agency decided to grant permission for off-road driving in this case, and will consider doing so for anyone filming TV shows or movies in Iceland in the future. They do not consider it their place to determine whether or not a visual depiction of off-road driving in Iceland sends “the wrong message”, Aðalbjörg Birna Guttormsdóttir, a team leader at the Agency, told reporters. Rather, their primary concern is that the off-road driving itself not do any significant or permanent damage to the environment.
Off-road driving in Iceland has become a major problem, to the point where an information campaign has been launched, aimed at tourists, to warn them to drive only on designated roads so as to avoid environmental damage.
Aðalbjörg emphasised that off-road permits will not be granted automatically. Rather, each application will be examined on its own merits.