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France bans outdoor terrace heaters for ecological reasons

France is to ban outdoor heaters in public spaces and café and restaurant terraces, as the ecology minister calls them an “ecological aberration”.

Barbara Pompili announced the measure would come into force at the end of next winter. It will be one of the first ecological measures to be inspired by the citizens’ Climate Convention, which took place earlier this year.

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Ms Pompili said that outdoor heaters create “totally unjustifiable overconsumption of energy”.

She said: “We cannot air-condition the street in the middle of summer when it’s 30°C outside, nor can we heat terraces in the middle of winter, for the simple pleasure of staying warm while drinking your coffee on the terrace.”

The minister said that the measures would be enforced from next winter, to take into account the difficulties that restaurateurs have faced due to the Covid-19 crisis already this year.

She said: “We are going to allow them to get ready, and we will make these measures mandatory at the end of next winter.”

Existing bans

This is not the first time that politicians have called for a ban on the outdoor heaters for ecological reasons.

In January, the mayor of Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany) outlawed them locally, deeming them to be too polluting. Other smaller towns, such as Thonon-les-Bains (Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), have also banned them.

According to figures from low carbon consultancy Carbone 4, four exterior gas-powered heaters running at full power for eight hours produce the equivalent carbon emissions of an average car travelling for a distance of 350km.

Jacques Boutault, mayor of the second arrondissement in Paris, has also previously argued for a similar ban in the capital, but mayor of the city Anne Hidalgo has so far stopped short of a total ban, fearing that it could have a negative effect on business.

According to French restaurant trade groups, more than 75% of restaurants and cafes in Paris have a heated terrace.


Ecology measures

Ms Pompili also presented a list of the other ecological measures set to be discussed in early 2021, at the Elysée yesterday (Monday July 27).

These are set to include:

  • A planned, gradual phasing out of oil and charcoal heaters, and a ban on their new installation
  • Tenants will be allowed to require owners of high-energy consuming properties (more than 500kWh per m2 per year) to make changes, or stop their energy payments in the meantime
  • Two new regional natural parks, from Mont Ventoux (Vaucluse) to the Somme-Picardie bay, and a national reserve in the forest of Robertsau in Alsace. This is part of France’s goal to make 30% of its earth surface a protected area.

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