The Project for the Port Saint-Hilaire Marina: A Litmus Test for the French Legislation on the Environment

Alain Miossec


Since 1973, a series of laws have been passed in France with the aim of ensuring that the environment is better taken into account and better protected when some parts of the coastal zone are to be developed. In particular, impact studies and public inquiries have been made mandatory prior to the realization of any development project. Unfortunately, impact studies are seldom carried out properly, and this is often due to the shortcomings and ambiguity of the laws. Besides, in the course of the public inquiries, the citizens even more rarely challenge the projects and point out their flaws. The case study of the Port Saint-Hilaire marina, in Vendee, exemplifies the scope and weaknesses of the French legislation on the environment.



Coastal environment; coastal zone; environmental impact studies; marina

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