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Recherche et développement régional durable

Corinne Larrue

Session 2. La précaution et le développement régional durable : l'exemple des risques naturels / The precautionory principle and Sustainable regional development: the example of naturel risk

Implementation of precautionary principle: the elaboration of a sustainable development charter for a territory under flood risk


Nicolas-Gérard Camphuis, Marie-France Beaufils et M. Gouzy

Texte intégral

  • 1 Directeur de l'équipe pluridisciplinaire plan Loire- B.P. 6339 - 45063 Orléans cedex 02, France.

1Note portant sur l’auteur1

  • 2 Maire de Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, France.

2Note portant sur l’auteur2

  • 3 Membre de l'Association de Défense des Communes riveraines de la Loire.

3Note portant sur l’auteur3

4The case for drawing up a charter for sustainable development in a zone liable to flooding was presented by two speakers: the director of the Loire Plan multi-disciplinary team, whose work has contributed much to our understanding of the risks and the vulnerability of the Loire basin, and two elected representatives, including the Mayor of St Pierre des Corps, who initiated the procedure.

5The elaboration of a charter for regional sustainable development in an area liable to flooding incorporating 18 communes in the département of Indre-et-Loire, provides one of the most striking examples of a change of approach in reducing the risk of flooding in the middle reaches of the Loire valley.

6The middle stretch of the Loire, between Nevers and Angers, is 450 km long. The area which is naturally liable to flooding and which has been flooded three times during the last century, covers 1,500 km2, of which 1,000 km2 are no longer subject to frequent flooding thanks to a system of embankments.

7Since 1992, the State has imposed new rules to restrict building development in areas liable to flooding. These laws aim to stop the extension of urban boundaries in favour of new developments in areas not liable to flooding. This decision severely penalizes the way of development of many communes, which consists of using more and more space. By the imposition of a ratio of land occupation, it also thwarts urban development and renovation projects.

8With the change of attitude of the State, the municipal representatives of St Pierre des Corps have agreed to restrict the development of the Commune to 20,000 inhabitants by 2010-2015, compared to 25,000 in previous projects. At the same time, they have made considerable efforts to get the State departments to shift blocked situations. They have asked that reducing vulnerability be seen in terms of the development of an urban plan, rather than on the basis of land parcels. Designed in this way, with the active involvement of inhabitants, urban plans meet the evolving needs of the inhabitants and existing economic activities, while at the same time taking into consideration the reduction of the vulnerability of goods and people. The Land Occupation Plan, voted in by the Town Council in September 2000, is the statutory version of the urban plan.

9This constructive procedure is also supported by the Association for the Protection of Loire Riverside Communes, set up at the initiative of the Mayor of Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. It currently includes 18 urban and rural communes, towns and villages, situated in the Loire valleys in the département of Indre-et-Loire. This Association of communes, existing under the terms of the associative Law of 1901, is involved in drawing up a Charter for Sustainable Development in areas liable to flooding. Drawing up this charter is an exploratory work with a flexible field of application. Its objective is to determine how, within the strict limitations imposed by the risk of flooding, the valley can preserve its economic dynamics and move towards strategies of managing the land with all its complexities and diversity. The end result of the procedure is the creation of a portfolio of structured and approved actions allowing a technical and financial partnership, mobilized on a sustainable basis. The areas of study will be defined for each specific set of problems.


1 Directeur de l'équipe pluridisciplinaire plan Loire- B.P. 6339 - 45063 Orléans cedex 02, France.

2 Maire de Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, France.

3 Membre de l'Association de Défense des Communes riveraines de la Loire.

© Presses universitaires François-Rabelais, 2002

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