Start of the fight : 29/05/2008
Closing date of the file : 01/08/2013
Fight won by : Clarisse
In 2008, the Town Hall of Andernos-les-Bains announced plans to extend their marina. For an additional 150 moorings, this project would decimate the wooded beach of Betey by a third. 70 trees would have to be felled, threatening an entire ecosystem and one of the last sentinels of those forests with their ‘feet in the water’ of the Aquitaine Coast. Such a project could also entail an increase in noise levels, as well as various other nuisances such as water pollution, shifts in the coastline, and increased turbidity.
A symbolic beach funeral was organised in September 2009 between the association Le Betey, Plage Boisée à Sauvegarder (Preserve the Wooded Beach of Le Betey) and the SFE Gironde Chapter. In July 2011, Surfrider participated in the public inquiry, the results of which – published in September 2011 – supported a revision of the Local Urban Development Plan (PLU). The local council voted on the new PLU in October 2011, confirming the marina and pier extension. In the wake of this decision, eleven law suits were filed at the Administrative Tribunal in Bordeaux.
Mobilisation around this fight has been strong, with over 3,000 signatories of the petition, which was launched by the association and the Keeper, Clarisse. In June 2012, Clarisse gained the support of the Green MEP Catherine Grèze, who declared that Le Betey was the last wooded beach of the Arcachon Basin and that it should be protected from the port extension project. In September 2012, the Keeper met with a delegation from the Town Hall to introduce her plans on planting more pine trees, and the delegation announced its willingness to work with the association to try and find common ground.
The public inquiry took place between the 4th of February and the 8th of March 2013. Clarisse and SFE wrote an address against the port extension project for this occasion. Moreover, on the 14th of February 2013, the Keeper delivered a petition with over 3,000 signatures and 1,500 post cards (pictorial versions of the petition) to the township. The association Le Betey, Plage Boisée à Sauvegarder also organised informative meetings and Ocean Initiatives, to make the residents of Andernos-les-Bains and of the Arcachon Basin aware of the importance to protect this unique and ancient wood. The investigating commissioner gave their verdict in April 2013, which was unfavourable to the port extension and in Jully, the Administrative Tribunal canceled the Local Urbanism Plan because of its illegality. Nevertheless, the Mayor of Andernos-les-Bains immediately announced his intention to modify the initial project by taking into account the recommendations collected in the report from the public inquiry, with a view to conduct further investigations. Clarisse and SFE hence remain vigilant.
Clarisse is the president of the association “Le Bétey, Plage Boisée à Sauvegarder“.
25th of June 2001: The municipal council of the commune Andernos-les-Bains orders a review of its Land Use Plan and the correlated elaboration of its Local Urban Development Plan (PLU).
25th of February 2002: A resolution of the municipal council defines the modalities for the public consultation.
29th of June 2006: The municipal council presents its planning and sustainable development project, which was updated following the consultation and replaces the one which had been submitted during the session on the 2nd of August 2004.
28th of April 2008: The local urban development plan (PLU) project is suspended.
June 2008: A letter is sent to the Prefect of the Gironde Department to inform him of the situation and request a meeting.
- SFE and the association Le Betey, plage boisée à sauvegarder (‘Le Betey, save the wooded beach’), presided over by the Keeper of the Coast Clarisse, organise a beach funeral (broadcasted on the TV channel France 3).
- SFE sends a letter to the Mayor of Andernos-les-Bains inviting him to take part in the consultation.
October 2008: Publication of a parliamentary question asked by the Green Party MP Noël Mamère in the official gazette of the French Republic in the context of the Environment Grenelle. He is asking which measures will be put into place to ensure that Betey Beach is no longer threatened by the marina development and by coastal urbanisation.
17th of November 2008: Passing of a resolution which orders that the revision of the Land Use Plan, i.e. the PLU, is resumed after the project had been suspended. The objective of this resolution is to overrule the one from the 28th of April 2008, and to authorise the Mayor of the commune to distribute an informative letter to all constituents on the elaboration process for the current PLU in view of organising a large-scale consultation.
January 2010: The PLU is submitted to public consultation.
20th of December 2010: By resolution, the municipal council of Andernos takes stock of the consultation and stops the PLU project, but this has yet to be approved.
28th of March 2011: The President of Betey Environnement (Michel Borio) sends a letter to the councillor in charge of the Environment (Bernard Cazeneuve).
Objective: To make observations and recommendations on the preservation of the Le Betey Stream within the context of the PLU project.
April 2011: The municipal council votes to extend funding to complete the environmental study on the wood in Betey, which would be diminished by the marina extension.
16th of May 2011: The Mayor orders the opening of a public inquiry, which will take place between the 14th of June and the 15th of July 2011.
July 2011: Surfrider Foundation Europe contributes to the public inquiry.
24th of September 2011: The investigating commissioner submits the report from the public inquiry and his conclusions, in which he agrees that the PLU should be reviewed.
24th of October 2011: The municipal council votes on the new land use plans (PLU), giving the go-ahead to the pier extension. All involved associations are planning to dispute the PLU in the administrative courts (by intervention of the lawyer Narito Harada). The associations pool their arguments, but they will attack separately in case one of the complaints is inadmissible.
15th of December 2011: In an appeal filed with the Administrative Tribunal of Bordeaux, the association Le Betey, Plage Boisée à Sauvegarder together with three of its members, submit to the censure of the jurisdiction the resolution of the municipal council of the Andernos commune from the 24th of October 2011, which endorses the revised Land Use Plans as part of the PLU.
December 2011: Organisation of a press conference (1,500 participants).
January 2012: Six lawsuits are filed (four in litigation and two administrative appeals). The administrative court in Bordeaux requests that the town hall of Andernos-les-Bains resolves the different disputes before the 9th of May 2012.
According to the Sub-Prefect, the PLU does not comply with the law.
7th of March 2012: The appeal by the association Le Betey, Plage Boisée à Sauvegarder is transferred to the commune.
4th of May 2012: Commissioning of a statement of defence.
Taking into account the pleas of fact and law, the Administrative Court of Bordeaux can only reject the appeal for misuse of power presented by the association Le Betey, Plage Boisée à Sauvegarde.
June 2012: The MEP and environmentalist Catherine Grèze at the sickbed of Betey: “I wanted to come here today, because this is an emblematic part of Arcachon Bay. It is the last wooded beach of the bay, and it needs to be protected from the marina extension for ships which exceed 12 meters in length”.
22nd of September 2012: Meeting between the Keeper of the Coast and the town council. The town council approves of the project to plant new pine trees and wishes to set up a process of cooperation and consultation.
The Keeper will contact the National Botanical Conservatory to ask for advice on planting, and she is in talks with INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research).
2nd of February 2013: Meeting of the association Le Betey, plage boisée à sauvegarder.
4th of February to 8th of March: Public inquiry.
14th of February 2013: The petition with 3,000 signatures is passed to the investigating commissioner.
17th of February 2013: Informative meeting organised by Clarisse and her association.
8th of March 2013: End of the public consultation period.
17th of March 2013: The municipal council gives a favourable opinion for the port extension project.
20th of March 2013: Official report.
22nd of April 2013: Publication of the investigating officer’s response to the public inquiry: He makes recommendations against the Betey port extension.
23rd of April 2013: The Mayor of Andernos announces in a press release that he plans to modify the initial project by taking into account the various opinions collected in the report from the public inquiry, and to subsequently instigate additional investigations.
26th of June 2013: On the initiative of the Keeper, the case is brought before the Administrative Court: The eleven appeals against the town hall (including one from the Prefecture) are addressed in a single verdict. The Rapporteur concludes by demanding the cancellation of the PLU.
24th of July 2013: The Administrative Court renders its judgement: The PLU is annulled on grounds of incompatibility with the law!
14th of September 2013: General assembly of the association Le Betey, plage boisée à sauvegarder.
Chronologie des faits