This article wanted to raise the thresholds from which projects had to be submitted to an environmental impact study, with the aim of accelerating wind or solar installations.
The government has decided to withdraw an article which, within the bill for the acceleration of the deployment of renewable energies, aroused great concern from environmental organizations, AFP learned on Wednesday from the Ministry of Energy Transition. This article 3 wanted to raise the thresholds from which projects had to be submitted to an environmental impact study, with the aim of accelerating wind or solar installations. NGOs considered that it was legally questionable because it would have represented a derogation from the principle of non-regression of environmental law, ratified by a law of 2016.
Furthermore, the "criteria determining the future thresholds for triggering an environmental assessment (deferred to application decrees) do not make it possible to estimate the extent of the consequences of the project on biodiversity“, alerted Wednesday for its part the National Council for the Protection of Nature (CNPN).
While the bill must be presented to the Council of Ministers on Monday, the ministry explained that it withdrew the article to respond to the executive's wish that the law be prepared "in full consultation with stakeholders“, but also because it did not ultimately reduce the French ambition to accelerate projects in renewables.
Towards lively debates in Parliament
The objective is that wedoes not depart from the ambition which is to halve the time of realization of the projects“, it was pointed out. However, in this matter, the contribution of this article was not "not easy", and besides, he was "not necessarily" no more "a strong expectationof the renewables sector, it was added.
This article "amounted to wanting to gain two and a half months at the expense of biodiversity, it was a hammer to crush a fly“, reacted Nicolas Richard, national secretary of the FNE. "Our concern about the text remains global: the climate emergency does not justify damage to biodiversity, water and land use“, he added, castigating the lack of planning.
The League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) said to itself "happy with the removal of this item», by the voice of its director Yves Verilhac, for whom «it's unfortunate to be reduced to applauding a lack of regression. Where is this reconquest of biodiversity announced with great communication?»
The text, which included 20 articles, and which will be the subject of lively debate in Parliament, aims to help France catch up with its great delay in the deployment of renewable energies, wind and photovoltaic in particular. It provides for transitional measures for 48 months to simplify procedures (extension of public voting by electronic means), the multiplication of possibilities for installing solar panels (on abandoned motorways, degraded land, mandatory in shades of existing car parks. ..) or even a pooling of debates by seafront for offshore wind power.