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Illegal Dordogne bridge could still be built over French river

Court gives department one year to get planning permission before demolition order enforced

Construction of the bridge was started to bypass the medieval village of Beynac in south-west France - a local heritage group opposes the bridge Pic: JeniFoto / Shutterstock

A court order to demolish pillars of a controversial new bridge over the Dordogne river has been defied and a new planning application for the structure submitted.

Demolition order extension granted

Work on the bridge, to bypass the medieval village of Beynac in south-west France, was halted in 2019 when the country’s highest court ruled construction was illegal as no proper environmental impact had been carried out.

Read more: Dordogne bypass protesters hail road demolition order

Read more: Dordogne bypass must be demolished - appeal court

The court ordered that the work be demolished, threatening a €3,000-a-day fine if it was not. 

However, the department has asked for and obtained a year-long extension of the demolition order, and has applied for new planning permission to continue building the bridge and a road to bypass the village.

More legal challenges ahead

The extension was granted in July on condition that a demolition contract be presented to the court by January 2023, and that the department pay €5,000 a day from July 2023 if work is not completed.

Philippe d’Eaubonne, founder of the Association pour la sauvegarde de la vallée de la Dordogne, told The Connexion that his group would keep fighting against the diversion.

“Work was started quickly and illegally and they have lost, lost, lost and lost again in the courts, and we will continue to oppose them by every legal means.”

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