Start of the fight : 05/09/2012
Fight won by : Alain
Every year, 30,000 cubic meters of sand are disappearing, harvested by tractors and diggers belonging to a company which knows no limits in its operations. The extracted product is shifted by road and sold immediately, allowing for an estimated annual turnover of 1 million Euros. There are a plethora of effects caused by this sand extraction from the entrance to the Audierne-Plouhinec Harbour: The disappearance of the sand dune at the harbour entrance, whose function it was to protect the port from the swell and to channel the tidal stream; the widening of the channel, which suppresses the flushing effect that used to contribute to its passive maintenance; the disappearance of the two ancient beaches at the Pointe Saint Julien; and shifts in the shape of Saint Julien Beach, leading to the progressive appearance of rocks and pebbles.
Surfrider Foundation Europe has been supporting this environmental battle, joining the Keeper of the Coast and ‘Les Amis de la Pointe Saint-Julien‘ (Friends of the Pointe Saint-Julien) in their demands for a suspension of the sand extraction at the entrance to the Audierne-Plouhinec Harbour pending further serious and professional investigations into the effects, as well as extended consultation. To this end, the Keeper, who prefers to remain anonymous, has sent several letters to the Quimper Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to the Prefecture, and to the General Regional Council.
A petition was set up online to support this initiative, which already counts several hundred signatures. Thanks to the citizen mobilisation, the General Regional Council eventually asked to meet the Keeper.
In early 2013, the Regional Council announced the implementation of stricter controls over the company in question. However, after a short period of respite, extractions at the entrance to the channel resumed during the last high tides of this spring.
An open letter addressed to the Regional Council and the Prefect was published by ‘Les Amis de la Pointe St Julien’ to protest against this display of ‘smoke and mirrors’, demanding an immediate halt to the operations which are causing serious damage to the environment.
Alain is a member ofthe group “Les Amis de la Pointe Saint-Julien”.
22nd of January 1990: Dredging concession is given to the company La Carmeuse, which plans to extract an annual volume of 15,000 to 25,000 m3 over a period of ten years.
2000: Renewal of the concession for another ten years.
Since 2010: The concession is tacitly renewed every year.
September 2012: The petition is launched online.
24th of September 2012: Letters to the Prefecture/General Council/Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) of Quimper.
2nd of Ocober 2012: Reply from the CCI of Quimper advising us to contact the General Council of the Finistère Department.
October 2012: Response from Surfrider Foundation Europe on the regulations regarding vehicle access to the beach.
12th of November 2012: Meeting between the Keeper of the Coast and the General Council. Objective: Recovery of the convention.
19th of November 2012: Letter to the General Council (addressed to the Vice-President Monsieur Quernez, who is also President of the port authorities) to find out about the plans for the 22nd of January when the concession may be renewed once more, and announcing collective action if nothing is done.
November 2012: Meeting between the General Council and La Carmeuse. The General Council announces that a hydraulic and sedimentary study and an environmental impact study will be carried out. The Vice-President of the General Council recognises the pillaging of the sand and announces that a study on the sediments will be carried out at the site over a period of three years.
13th of December 2012: An article is published in Ouest France.
2013: The General Council plans to commission a study on the current and future dredging conditions. According to the Council, the entire process will take at least three years. This process is too long and will not save the dune at the entrance to the harbour, which has already all but disappeared.
January 2013: The General Council announces that stricter controls of the company are being implemented.
February 2013: After a short period of respite, the dredging recommences.
28th of April 2013: Publication of an open letter addressed to the General Council and the Prefect, denouncing their ‘smoke and mirrors’ deception because the installed markers are not being respected, the dredger ‘Arthur’ has been put in the water but is idle, and the study is taking a long time. In fact, nothing is happening!
24th, 25th or 26th of June 2013: Planned sand extraction from the sand bank.
Chronologie des faits