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Green news - January 2019

An update on environmental events and occurrences in France

Time to clean your car?

The Assemblée Nationale has voted to tighten penalties for polluting motor vehicles, a measure which aims to encourage the acquisition of so-called “clean” vehicles.

The car penalty “defines a tax additional to the tax on vehicle registration certificates on the basis of their carbon dioxide emissions”, according to the finance bill for 2019. A key amendment was the lowering of the threshold for the application of the penalty to 117g of carbon dioxide per km, from the current 120g.

The government says it hopes to generate additional revenue of €31 million, which it says will to help finance, and potentially increase, the buyer’s ‘conversion bonus’. It has also called on manufacturers to help with some of the costs.

You can see details of current levels of ‘bonus’ – including up to €2,500 for the purchase of an electric car – at

New eco post for airport politician

Nicole Klein, Prefect of Loire-Atlantique and the Pays-de-la-Loire region, was due to retire at the end of November. But instead, at the age of 66, she became the new Chief of Staff of Nantes-born François de Rugy, who was appointed Minister of Ecological Transition last September, replacing Nicolas Hulot.

Mrs Klein had previously impressed  ministers with how she handled the shelving of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes new airport plan, and she will now be dealing with equally thorny subjects as conflicts with France’s powerful hunting lobby, the limitation of pesticides in agriculture, the future of the French nuclear fleet and the conversion of coal-fired power plants.

‘Funnel’ lake dries up due to drought

A lake in the Doubs department of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté has completely dried up due to the ongoing drought affecting parts of France, resulting in thousands of dead fish.

Due to mud hazards (a walker recently got stuck), visitors are no longer permitted at Lake Bouverans, which is also known as ‘The Funnel’.

The surface area and water levels of the lake already change frequently throughout the year, due to the underground drainage network on which it is located.

The region has been particularly affected by the lack of rainfall this year, with 35 municipalities getting their supply by mobile water tank. Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume has said that an agricultural disaster plan will be put in place for all departments affected by the drought.

Swimmer swam in ‘plastic soup’

A long-distance swimmer who completed a tour of France, has said that he swam in ‘plastic soups’ in some areas.

Rémi Camus told the France 5 programme C politique, la suite, that two places were particularly bad, both of them in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques: the entrance to the port of Bayonne, and Hendaye, right next to the border with Spain.

He said that about “700-800 metres” from the coast, there is plastic in the water three metres thick and 40 kilometres long. “There was an open dump on the Spanish coast that would be used when sea conditions were favourable.”

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