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In Brittany, the reduction of breeding is on the table in the face of green algae – Rennes
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In Brittany, the reduction of breeding is on the table in the face of green algae – Rennes
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Serious debates have taken place in Brittany, at a time when the prefecture must imagine the 7th regional action program to lower nitrate levels in water, and which will be effective until 2026. To do this, a “open” consultation was organised. In total: 537 contributors and 358 opinions and comments. The five territorial workshops in the departments brought together 138 participants, including 28 who came to debate a second time in Rennes during a multi-actor assembly. A first. This is enough to underline Philippe Mazenc, secretary general for regional affairs in Brittany, “the ability of Breton players, in a subject that is not always consensual, to talk to each other”.

375 proposals

A “flat” however according to Sylvie Denis Dintilhac, guarantor of the national commission for public debate. “We haven’t really left the circle of insiders, experts and associations. We did not reach the general public. But the analysis of the contributions shows that they are of very high quality”. It thus identified 375 formulations of proposals, all reported in the consultation report. Between all the actors, the only real point of consensus is that the situation has improved compared to 1980. On the method for continuing the process, a split separates two camps: those in favor of stricter regulations and a strengthening of controls, and those that focus on flexibility and partnership actions.

Agricultural model and place of livestock

Behind the concentration of nitrates in the waters, is quickly the subject of the agricultural model and the breeding. And in particular the question of the balance between “economic aspects and environmental requirements”. “The agricultural model is subject to dissatisfaction and demands for change. There are two opposing positions on the place of livestock farming in Breton politics,” continues Sylvie Denis Dintilhac.

Some of the contributions want the livestock to be maintained as it is. Another request to limit it. “Some propose a reduction of 40 to 60% of the herd, others to prohibit the extension of the existing herd or that the authorizations of exploitation are subordinated to criteria”. Ideas for exporting organic nitrogen to territories where there is less livestock have also emerged.

Two months to formulate measures

From now on, the regional directorate for the environment, planning and housing (DREAL) has until March 11 to analyze the proposals and formulate measures. Another consultation will then follow on these, then the opinions of the environmental authority, the chamber of agriculture, the regional council and the water agency. Another public consultation will be organized before reaching the signing of the program.

Since 1994, Brittany has been classified as a vulnerable zone: in all its waters, the nitrate concentration is above 18 mg per litre, but below the drinking water threshold, which is 50 mg per litre. “Half of the national territory is in this case, the specificity of Breton is that it can be seen immediately with the phenomenon of green algae, which are indicative of nitrate levels” explains Philippe Mazenc, Secretary General for Regional Affairs of Brittany. Since 2014, concentration rates have declined overall, but have stagnated in some places and even increased in others. Enough for the Court of Auditors, the Senate, then the Administrative Court of Rennes, to bang their fists on the table.

In Brittany, the reduction of breeding is on the table in the face of green algae – Rennes
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