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Dordogne bypass protesters hail road demolition order

Protesters fighting a half-built bypass that cuts through a prized natural site are confident that, after a 30-year battle, the road will never be completed.

The site near Beynac in the Dordogne, an area classed as a Unesco biosphere reserve, must be returned to its original state within a year, a Bordeaux appeal court upheld. 

Philippe d’Eaubonne, President of the Association pour la Sauvegarde de la Vallée de la Dordogne, said: “This victory will set a precedent.

“Public bodies won’t be able to breach environmental regulations just because they think their project is in the public interest.”

In 2018, Dordogne prefecture gave the go-ahead for the €32million road, saying it was necessary to avoid congestion in Beynac, one of the “Most Beautiful Villages” in France.

Opponents said it was a waste of money, requiring two bridges and a tunnel in a 3.2km stretch, and the village is only congested in summer. They said it was an environmental disaster.

France’s highest administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, said there was “no imperative public interest” for the cost and environmental impact.

The Bordeaux administrative court ordered the work to be dismantled, a decision now upheld. The department says it will appeal to the Conseil d’Etat.

Its president Germinal Peiro said: “The demolition itself will impact the environment and cost  €40million without solving the Beynac issue. One day, someone will die there.”

Mr d’Eaubonne said: “Our experts say demolition and restoration will cost around €4million.”


See also: Dordogne bypass must be demolished - appeal court

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