Open letter to the Préfet of the Vendée, France – Mr Benoit Brocart

In the wake of the G7 summit held this year under French presidency in Biarritz, President Emmanuel MACRON reaffirmed his commitment to act against the issues of global warming and in favour of environmental preservation. 

Surfrider Foundation Europe wishes to reiterate its support for the implementation of the principle of zero artificialisation of land. 

The French government, through its circulaire” on the 29th of July 2019, demonstrated its commitment to the economic management of space (NOR: LOGL1918090J), by addressing the prefects to strengthen the mobilization of the local state by implicating themselves in the fight against the artificialization of land with the application of the latest legislative measures taken in regards to this matter and to mobilize the local actors “. 

Among the recommendations of this instruction, the state underlines the processes of development of urban planning documents and gives clear guidelines to the prefects: 

“If, despite your support and dialogue throughout the procedure, the approved document (SCOT or PLU, PLUi) goes against a reasonable space saving management or anticipates an insufficient densification near to sectors served by transport or public facilities, you will mobilize the whole range of regulatory levers at your disposal (from the unfavourable opinion to the suspension of the document) to ask the local community to bring modifications deemed necessary. 

The public inquiry commission concerning the procedure and development of the P.L.U. (local urban planning) of the municipality of Brétignolles-sur-Mer, chaired by Mr. Claude GRELIER delivered in his report published on February the 21st 2019 a favourable opinion, with a significant reservation concerning the restoration of a cut of urbanization on the section of Normandelière beach. 

In addition, in its conclusions (Page 87 -18.2.2), it is stated that: “The inquiry commission considers that the transformation of this space of Normandelière beach of more than sixty hectares constitutes a serious infringement to the protection of natural species and does not contribute to an economic management of space “. 

Furthermore, the construction of such an infrastructure in Brétignolles-sur-Mer will generate multiple negative (both direct and indirect) ecological and socio-economic impacts; this project contains a multitude of errors regarding the appreciation and understanding of the risks expressed in the academic literature regarding maritime engineering. 

Finally, as a reminder, any work that bridges between the marine and terrestrial domains must be carried out with the utmost seriousness to not endanger the project itself and the existing infrastructurex on the territory concerned. In the case of Brétignolles-sur-mer, Surfrider Foundation Europe wishes to recall that no on-site studies or recent scientific data (SHOM 2008) have been collected or collated to better understand the hydrodynamic reality of the site and the real impact such work would have on the coastline. 

Considering the instructions issued by the Ministry for the Ecological and Solidary Transition – town and housing; of cohesion of territories and relations with local authorities and Agriculture and Food. 

Considering the conclusions of the public inquiry concerning the procedure of development of P.L.U (local urban planning) of the commune of Brétignolles sur Mer. 

Considering the weaknesses and lack of seriousness of the study of potential impacts of the project in its entirety. 

The European NGO for the protection of the ocean, Surfrider Foundation Europe strongly opposes the project for the reasons mentioned above, and especially due to low value that the project will have in the future for the public. The association alerts Mr. Brocart, Prefect of Vendée, that the authorization he issued goes against the instruction of the Government. 

Signed by

Gilles Asenjo, Surfrider Foundation Europe

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