Finistère, France

05/09/12

Every year, 30,000 cubic meters of sand are disappearing, harvested by tractors and diggers belonging to a company which knows no limits in its operations.  The extracted product is shifted by road and sold immediately, allowing for an estimated annual turnover of 1 million Euros.  There are a plethora of effects caused by this sand extraction from the entrance to the Audierne-Plouhinec Harbour: The disappearance of the sand dune at the harbour entrance, whose function it was to protect the port from the swell and to channel the tidal stream; the widening of the channel, which suppresses the flushing effect that used to contribute to its passive maintenance; the disappearance of the two ancient beaches at the Pointe Saint Julien; and shifts in the shape of Saint Julien Beach, leading to the progressive appearance of rocks and pebbles.

Surfrider Foundation Europe has been supporting this environmental battle, joining the Keeper of the Coast and 'Les Amis de la Pointe Saint-Julien' (Friends of the Pointe Saint-Julien) in their demands for a suspension of the sand extraction at the entrance to the Audierne-Plouhinec Harbour pending further serious and professional investigations into the effects, as well as extended consultation.  To this end, the Keeper, who prefers to remain anonymous, has sent several letters to the Quimper Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to the Prefecture, and to the General Regional Council.

A petition was set up online to support this initiative, which already counts several hundred signatures. Thanks to the citizen mobilisation, the General Regional Council eventually asked to meet the Keeper.

In early 2013, the Regional Council announced the implementation of stricter controls over the company in question.  However, after a short period of respite, extractions at the entrance to the channel resumed during the last high tides of this spring.

An open letter addressed to the Regional Council and the Prefect was published by 'Les Amis de la Pointe St Julien' to protest against this display of 'smoke and mirrors', demanding an immediate halt to the operations which are causing serious damage to the environment.

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Coastal Development
and Climate Change

Coastal erosion, rising water levels, maritime transport, offshore platforms: the health of our coasts and oceans is permanently under threat.

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