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> Brittany In The News, Defending the Coast
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Posted: 18-Mar-2005, 07:43 PM
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Defending the coasts

Found at: http://www.brittany-news.net/

Brittany?s nature protection society has written an open letter to the French senate, urging senators to think hard before amending a 1986 law, the loi littoral, enacted to protect the coastline of France from building development.
Brittany?s coastline, one of the world?s most beautiful, is an important resource for tourism, the region?s second-most important industry after farming.

Bretagne Vivante ? ?Living Brittany? ? spans the départements of Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-d?Armor, Finistère, Morbihan and Loire-Atlantique and, with its 3,000 members, exists to protect, and to raise public awareness of, the wildlife and habitat of its area. Bernard Guillemot, its president, has written to the senate, which is contemplating changes to the 1986 law which would permit development within the existing protected area.

This extends 100 metres inland from the coast, but also includes stretches of terrain running further inland to follow the edges of estuaries and river inlets, including the Rance, between Saint-Malo and Dinard down towards Dinan, and the abers, the fjord-like river mouths in western Finistère. It excludes areas such as Saint-Cast or Perros-Guirec, which were already built up in 1986.

The loi littoral aims to protect the entire coastline of France ? English Channel, Atlantic and Mediterranean ? by severely restricting development that would intrude on countless beauty spots.

Making inroads

M. Guillemot?s open letter notes that the senate has adopted an amendment relating to permits for building along small estuaries. The senate?s position, he says, ?is an attack on the loi littoral?. It threatens the shorelines of rias ? narrow, flooded valleys abundant in Brittany, south-west England and south-west Ireland ? tidal flats and coastal marshland. M. Guillemot?s organisation has been at the forefront of moves to extend the law?s protection to precisely those areas.

In fact, a source inside Bretagne Vivante says, ?We don?t actually know what the senate has in mind.We don?t know whether it will think the matter through adequately and take all concerns into account.? The same source pointed out that houses built on Brittany?s coast were likely to be holiday homes and would have no benefit for local communities and little for the economy.

Farmers ? typically around Dol de Bretagne ? are already encroaching on coastal wetlands in search of extra land to cultivate. Elsewhere, property owners have complained that application of the loi littoral has been scandalously inconsistent.

Flora and fauna walks

Bretagne Vivante organises frequent talks and excursions at many points throughout Brittany, studying bird, animal and reptile life, flowers and grasses and related scientific topics. Excursions planned for early this year include several owlwatching trips.

The organisation?s website includes 19 telephone contacts, including Loire-Atlantique and Pays de Nantes. Its head office is at 186 rue Anatole-France, BP 63121, 29231 Brest cedex 3.

Slàn agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tìr mo chridhe. 'S i Gàidhlig cànan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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