top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

'Urgent' call to open parks in France’s red zones

French environmental association Respire has protested the government’s decision to keep parks and gardens closed in France’s "red zones", concentrated in Paris and the North East, calling the measure “completely counterproductive” to combatting coronavirus.

Yesterday (Monday, May 25) environmental association Respire announced they had filed an appeal with France’s high administrative court, le Conseil d'État, demanding that parks and gardens be reopened in red zones in France on physical and mental health grounds.

Read more: French police crackdown on crowds at beaches and parks

Read more: Covid-19: France plans gradual sporting return

In a statement published on its website, Olivier Blond, director of Respire, says closing parks and gardens to combat the spread of Covid-19 is counter-productive. He said: “As they don’t have access to public spaces, people mass together on pavements and roadsides. They don’t respect social distancing and expose themselves to increased risk of Covid-19 transmission. The situation is absurd.”

Respire argues that access to parks could be safely given in red zones with regulations in place, such as bans on picnics or staying in one spot for too long.   

 

A question of health and inequality

As well as easing the risk of viral transmissions, parks and gardens should be reopened on numerous health grounds, Respire said. It points to the mental health implications of confinement and air pollution risks to those living in small, unsanitary, housing. 

Without green spaces, their only other option is to spend time outside on polluted roadsides. This means near-constant exposure to poor quality air for those on low-incomes.  

Mr Blond said: “Those who live in cramped housing without access to greenery, those who don’t have the means to spend three months in their second home. There is a scandalous inequality that must be resolved rapidly.” 

Paris is worst affected

The situation is a “medical urgency” in Paris and Ile-de-France, according to Mr Blond.

In the capital, open spaces such as the Champ de Mars, in front of the Eiffel Tower, have been accessible to the public since May 11. The Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, two large parks on either side of Paris, known as the city’s "green lungs", are also open. 

But the vast majority of parks, gardens and squares remain closed, despite multiple requests to reopen them from the capital’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo.

Related articles

First green / red Covid-19 map of France revealed

Circulation of Covid-19 ‘weak’ in France

Extra care needed on forest walks in France

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2022 (for 2021 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now