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U-turn on strict environmental rules for holiday chalets in France

A building firm has won a legal battle to drop costly green regulations for small holiday bungalows

The rules were aimed at 'habitations légères de loisirs' (light leisure accommodation) with a maximum 35m² surface area Pic: INTREEGUE Photography / Shutterstock

Strict new insulation and other environmental rules for small holiday bungalows have been thrown out by the highest civil court after a builder protested.

The rules, published last year, would have increased construction costs. 

They were aimed at habitations légères de loisirs (light leisure accommodation) with a maximum 35m² surface area, and also applied to cabins and chalets. 

Mobile homes, which have another designation (residences mobiles de loisirs), were already excluded from the rules.

The buildings affected already have to be designed so they can be dismantled easily.

The Conseil d’Etat was asked to examine the legality of the new rules by a firm called Algonquin. It is the parent company of the giant Huttopia campsite group, and also has a business making bungalows and tents.

Read more: France - a camping paradise with campsites for everyone 

CO2 emissions would actually increase

Algonquin argued that the rules posed great technical difficulties on manufacturers and additional costs had already led to clients cancelling orders for the 2024 holiday season.

The Conseil d’Etat accepted that new insulation standards, and rules covering items such as the amount of sunlight hitting sliding doors, would have increased costs by 30% and seen CO2 emissions rise during construction.

It accepted that these increased costs could put the camp bungalow manufacturing industry at risk.

An estimated 2,000 bungalows, cabins and chalets are sold each year, and around 20,000 mobile homes.

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