Projects flourished in northern France

Fallen factories, ramshackle mining towns, abandoned slag heaps… Artificial lands are rife in northern France, where people seek to return some to nature at the cost of long and hard work. expensive. Continuing with the concrete elsewhere.

ambitious projects

The place, managed, still looks like a vacant lot, in the heart of Quiévrechain (North). Until 2011, the Fibers du Hainaut factory produced plastic sheets and tubes here. The factory was demolished. On this land, half of which was concrete, young trees less than a meter high, more adaptable than adult trees, were planted to form an urban forest springing from the ground … in 15 to 20 years. “Projects over a long period of time, with Vegetation Which will take time to become more intense,” explains Mayor Pierre Greiner.

Her municipality has invested €390,000 to purchase the plot of land from the Public Land Foundation (EPF) in Hauts-de-France – whose mission is to “for recycling“These are lands—and 100,000 for facilities. A network of branches has been set up on the ground to ‘repair organic matter’ and serve as ‘shelter for young animals,’” explains landscape designer Damien Ruido, who is responsible for the project. live.”

A place that helps resaturate

Driven by political will, this renovation was made possible by the abundance of abandoned buildings in this old industrial city. A few hundred meters away, it was settlements From the mining town of Corbo waiting to be demolished. Houses in the flood zone, near the river that marks the border with Belgium. So the renovation is taking place virtually, but Mr Grenier welcomes the opportunity to return the area to its “initial function as a natural buffer site”.

Recycling 5500 hectares of arid land

Between 2010 and 2019, nearly six soccer fields in agricultural or forested areas were consumed daily by urbanization in Hauts-de-France, according to a recent report from the prefecture. Synthetic manufacturing has “stabilised” since 2015 but remains at an “important level”. The formerly densely populated Nord-Pas-de-Calais is also one of the least forested in France. But according to Guillaume Lemoine, an environmental engineer at EPF des Hauts-de-France, “This area, which has historically sacrificed its naturalover the course of 30 years, or even 50 years, tools to correct.” To describe Sisyphus’s work: “In 30 years, we have recycled more than 5,500 hectares of wasteland, including 2,000 hectares of slag.” About 50% of these The surfaces were remodeled, and the rest redeveloped, “but there is still a lot, because the sediments are regenerating,” he said.

Angry locals

The Climate and Resilience Law, passed in 2021, sets a goal of creating a “zero net” in France by 2050. Reconversion of arid lands is one of its levers. But in the 2019 study, France’s strategy highlighted the decline in the number of real development projects. Resaturation, noting that the process, including decontamination and waterproofing, is expensive. In Hauts-de-France, the scarcity of land maintains a strong pressure on the soil.

Among other controversial projects, a giant tropical greenhouse near the Baie de Somme and a gigantic logistics warehouse southwest of Lille are irritating conservationists. fertile In the city, we will build a 100,000 square meter concrete layer, or 16 football fields, “Angry Pascal Pepperstreet, from the opponents group to the warehouse.” We are bypassing the artificial zero, on the grounds that we signed a promise to sell and that it will create jobs,” he complains. When asked, the European city of Lille did not pursue. According to the province, new logistics infrastructures consume more energy. Natural, agricultural, and forest areas are “more than ‘industry, commerce, or office’.” It costs less to construct new buildings on farmland than in disturbed environments, with layers of gravel or other,” laments Mr. Lemoine.

with AFP

Leave a Comment