The SNCF’s long-awaited high-speed link between Toulouse and Bordeaux has been hit by a setback after the government's environmental agency called its understanding of the environmental consequences of the route “obsolete and deficient”.
SNCF Réseau, which manages the project, requires the approval of the French environmental agency before work can begin in Toulouse and Bordeaux.
However, the government agency not only denied the request but issued a damning put-down to SNCF Réseau.
Read more: Ways to save money on train travel in France
The agency said in a recent report that SNCF Réseau provided “obsolete data (almost 10 years old) relying on out-of-date regulations” and “a file that is lacking with regard to many of the primary concerns (artificialisation, greenhouse gas emissions, natural habitats) that does not give the public any more information than they received at the last public consultation in 2014.”
SNCF Réseau responded by stating that it would “gather the information requested as soon as possible”, adding that it is committed to “transparency and environmental concerns”.
The 200km route, first mooted in 2003, is expected to cost €14billion with work starting in late 2023. High speed trains should be operational between Toulouse and Bordeaux by 2032.
It should be noted that while TGVs already travel between Toulouse and Bordeaux, their speed is limited to 160km/h, far below the 320km/h they can reach on high speed rails.
The high-speed link will allow travel between Toulouse and Bordeaux in 30 minutes.