Project of a residential building in Valras: the coastline in danger

19/05/21

A new strategy to adapt to climate change and face coastal risks in a responsible way was recently presented by the European Commission, but some projects that threaten the coastline continue to flourish. The proof is in Valras, in the Hérault region, where the municipality has authorized the construction of a residential building about a hundred meters from the sea. A decision that pushes Surfrider Europe to continue raising awareness on the dangers of coastline artificialization.   


Coastal risks: an issue increasingly taken into account by public authorities?

Last February, the European Commission adopted a new strategy for adaptation to climate change, which was largely welcomed by Surfrider Europe. Since then, the association has been working very closely with European institutions to highlight the various coastal risks present on the continent and ensure that the ambition of this text is understood and accepted by stakeholders in the field. Surfrider Europe is urging the Member States to better protect the coastline, the population, and surrounding ecosystems which are each time more affected by the consequences of climate change. This includes erosion, flooding, disappearance of beaches, and disruption of ecosystems. 

Thanks to this new European strategy, Surfrider Europe is optimistic that coastal adaptation will become recognized as a serious contemporary issue. In order to prevent coastal hazards, the various stakeholders must now agree on the need to adopt nature-based, environmentally respectful, and sustainable solutions for coastal development.   


Preventing risks by putting an end to coastal urbanization  

In addition to countering these risks, it is also essential to prevent them by halting the construction of new land development projects nearby the sea. This is why, through various actions (awareness raising, advocacy, field actions), Surfrider Europe makes it a point of honor to fight against the urbanization of coastal areas. Particularly bad for ecosystems, this human overexploitation only worsens the consequences of global warming: polluting and deteriorating habitats, urban sprawl is one of the biggest threats to coastal environments and the lifestyles of their communities. 


Surfrider Europe believes that no project of social and/or economic value should be carried out in coastal areas if it does not aim to solve existing environmental problems. Thus, it logically opposess any construction or expansion of infrastructures, like the building project which the municipality of Valras, in the Hérault, recently authorized the construction.    


Valras: Surfrider Europe Hérault denounces new construction  

This new residential building plans to be built on the site of an abandoned casino. It was recently sold a real estate developer by the town hall of Valras. Even though this construction is replacing an existing building, the new residence would rise to 35meters height and require additional artificialization of the Hérault coastline to support its grand mass. Such a construction would create far-reaching and disastrous impacts on the coastline.   



Facing this project, the Hérault chapter of Surfrider Europe decided to act: expressing its opposition via a video, it also invites citizens to sign a petition to demand a consultation of the inhabitants on the environmental issues related to the development of coastal communities and to demand sustainable urbanization that respects the coastal environment. 


Sign the petition

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