Green news: March

Eco news from around France

Hunters to help police track fly-tippers

Gendarmes in Oise, Hauts-de-France, have enlisted the help of local hunters in forests and remote areas to report abandoned vehicles, fly-tipping and rubbish dumping, as well as illegal fishing and hunting.

200 so-called ‘vigilant hunters’ have been selected, and a clean criminal record is essential. “These are not reinforcements,” said Captain Eric Lecacheur, head of crime prevention and partnership in the department. “Their mission will be to observe, alert us and raise awareness among those who frequent natural environments.”

Animal rights group 30 Millions d’Amis has questioned the legality of the move and denounced the ‘armed militia’ being put ‘in charge of security and education despite not being sworn in’.

“Under no circumstances will vigilant hunters be called upon to intervene directly,” insisted Captain Lecacheur.

Bordeaux wine pesticide lower than ever

37 out of the 40 bottles of Bordeaux wine tested by consumer rights organisation UFC-Que Choisir contained between one and six of 177 possible pesticide molecules. However, this figure is three times lower than those found in similar tests four years ago.

“Three out of forty bottles tested without residues: these results may seem worrying, but they are rather indicative of the efforts made in this area,” it said.

The molecules detected are neither carcinogenic, nor are they considered endocrine disruptors, with the exception of iprodione, a fungicide present “in very small quantities” in three of the wines.

In all the analysed wines, “no exceedances of the maximum residue limits allowed” were detected.

Government hears TGV noise pollution woes

France’s Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot has said he is sensitive to the feelings of local residents complaining about noise pollution created by the new TGV train line between Tours and Bordeaux.

While train line operators Eiffage and Lisea say average daily noise levels are within agreed levels, the minister accepted that these levels do not reflect nuisance levels felt by people in their homes.

“When you explain to me that you feel like you have a jet plane in your dining room, I don’t think you say it for fun,”
he told reporters on a visit to Sarthe.

Elisabeth Borne, the Minister of Transport, said that she would not rule out changing regulations if ‘peak’ noise is too loud. Further tests have been ordered.

Eco-friendly living in Nice

The building of Joia Méridia, a massive new residential, business and leisure development at Plaine du Var on the outskirts of Nice, has been announced, with green credentials at its core. These include a guaranteed 25% of energy consumption with renewable energy, a geothermal power plant to supply all the new district’s thermal needs and solar panelling for energy consumption on-site.

Designers say they have been inspired by local architecture and the Mediterranean climate, and have placed a strong emphasis on vegetation in public areas, as well as 2000m² of vegetable gardens, an aromatic plant garden and an ‘experimental’ garden.