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Coastal law 'will not be changed'

Ecology minister Jean-Louis Borloo has insisted no changes will be made to the controversial Loi Littoral.

Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo (pictured) has insisted no changes will be made to the controversial Loi Littoral.

On a visit to the Var department, he defended the 1986 law which was brought in to protect France’s coastline from over-development.

Mr Borloo said: “The battle for the coast is crucial to the safeguarding of the planet.

“There is a lot of pressure on us to pull this law apart but there’s no point speculating on us revising it because we will not be doing so.”

Jérôme Bignon, president of the Conservatoire National du Littoral, his vice-president sailor Maud Fontenoy, and the president of the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux, Alain Bougrain-Dubourg accompanied Mr Borloo on his visit to the coast at Cavaliere.

Mr Borloo spoke of his plans to help the Conservatoire - a government agency that protects coastal areas - to acquire 33% of the French coastline by 2020 as opposed to 11% today.

He plans to enlarge its budget by 75% to €45 million. During his visit he confirmed the state was acquiring the Pardigon beach area, which would become a protected site.

Mr Borloo said the Conservatoire’s 113,000 hectares were “France’s biggest museum,” calling it a “terrific success.” He added: “This is not about making the land into a sanctuary.

“On the acquired areas people fish, hunt, grow vines, cultivate oysters. On the other hand it is impossible to build on them and they cannot be sold.”

The Loi Littoral affects all “coastal” communes - on the sea, as well as large lakes or, in some cases, deltas and estuaries. It allows no new construction within 100m of the coast outside of built-up areas. It also says remarkable or characteristic areas near the coast should be preserved and only light construction allowed.

Controversy continues in the Var over the retrospective withdrawal of planning permission for severalhomes at Le Lavandou - they were permitted in the late 1990s but later had permission removed after environmentalists cited the Loi Littoral.

Owners have been unable to complete, live in or sell the homes as the case continues.

Photo: Benjamin Lemaire

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