Green news from around France: October

Bee-killing pesticides still banned and an eco-friendly shopping centre for Normandy

No ban u-turn on bee-killing pesticides
The French ban on the use of bee-killing pesticides will not be lifted. Following discussions in June between the Minister of Ecological Transition, Nicolas Hulot, and his Agriculture colleague, Stéphane Travert, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe decided that the government will not revisit the ban.

Called neonicotinoids, these pesticides penetrate the sap of the plant and are accused of being neurotoxic and responsible for the decline of pollinating insects.

According to the National Union of French Beekeeping, since the appearance of these insecticides, “about 300,000 hives perish each year”, with the mortality rate of bees exploding from 5% to 30%.

Beyond the effect on bees, the European Food Safety Agency (Efsa) said that three neonicotinoids, already partially prohibited, could “have an impact on the development of the human nervous system”.

Scooters for hire trial a success in Paris
After Vélib and Autolib, a new self-service scooter hire service from start-up Knot City has been experimented in several communes in the south of Paris.

Five terminals were installed in Montrouge and three others in Châtillon for a total of about forty scooters, which cost the user from 20–50c per hour.

“The response was very positive, we have ironed out some technical issues and have requests for new ‘stations’,” Knot City’s Polina Mikhaylova told Connexion.

Users can make their booking via an app downloadable from Appstore or Google Play. Crash helmets are not provided.

Two giant palm tress leave Paris for the sunny south
Two huge palm trees that lived in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris since 1999 became too large and were sent to warmer climes – to Sète, in the Hérault.

Palms are not a species that can be pruned, and the two 9metre specimens facing the Senate building are now too large to winter in the greenhouse of its Orangery. A Senate spokesman explained that the species is very fragile, and as soon as the bud is damaged, the tree is never able to reproduce its famous leaves. The trees will have a warmer life in the Med, facing the sea.

Honfleur new shopping centre with plants on roof
A new breed of shopping centre with serious eco-friendly credentials – including vegetables growing on the roof – will open in Honfleur this autumn.

The Honfleur Normandy Outlet, located near the Pont de Normandie, will be home to over 100 boutiques over an area of 12km sq once the first phase is complete. The construction will adhere to BREEAM Certification, the method of assessing the environmental behavior of buildings developed by the Building Research Establishment.

It will also be an ecological site which makes use of natural materials, the capture and re-use of rainwater, and the planting of 4,000 trees and shrubs.

The architects, Maison Edouard François, are noted for their enhancement of local heritage and sustainable development, with the buildings integrating into the landscape and heritage of Honfleur. Landscaper Jean-Frédéric Gay has designed ‘vegetalised’ roofs on what has been dubbed Honfleur’s ‘seven hills’.