France must tighten up environmental legislation

A bigger effort to manage pollution, natural resources and biodiversity must be made by the French government, according to its environmental performance review.

Conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Environmental Performance Review of France focuses on the need for better integration of environmental concerns into sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture.

The review puts forward 49 recommendations that would help strengthen initiatives currently underway to promote more sustainable development in France.

Advised steps to boost environmental protection included: reviewing taxation policies; reducing the damage caused by excessive use of nitrates and pesticides in the agricultural industry; reducing energy intensity in the economy; combating climate change; and improved enforcement of environmentally protecting legislation and regulations.

However, the review did also recognise areas in which significant results had already been achieved, such as:

  • Improved legislation and management in the field of natural and technological risks
  • Growing awareness of links between the environment health, and stronger action being taken in this regard
  • More efficient water management through a basin-level approach
  • Adoption of the Environmental Charter
  • Increasingly dynamic international cooperation on key environmental issues

    “The need to manage pollution, natural resources and biodiversity in France continues to be a major challenge,” the organisation stated. “But we feel this is a positive, if demanding assessment.”

    The full OECD report, which is based on numerous environmental indicators, is due to be published in June 2005, and is the organisation’s second performance review on France’s progress.

    By Jane Kettle

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