A setback for the opponents of Mazaugues' career

“Soap opera… Legal saga.” In court, words flowed describing the tangle of Mazaugues' career. Sometimes with anger.

The knot, which Provence Granulats wants to undo. Claiming that his quarry has a “definitive authorization to work”, as recalled at a hearing on February 9 at the administrative court in Toulon.

Looking at the problem from all possible angles, several environmental protection associations believe that the exploitation of the limestone quarry in this place is a threat to the natural environment.

First of all, the threat to the water supply that saturates the basement of this former bauxite mine. But also a threat to protected natural species and bat colonies.

“It's an appeal for adjournment”

From this point of view, the construction permit is contested, the one issued by the town hall of Mazaugues in January 2021. “The administrative court abolished all possibilities of appeal, otherwise it would not have ordered the municipality to issue a construction permit, the lawyer of Provence Granulats, Me Louis Dubecq, was outraged. ” It's a delaying appeal, it can't last any longer.”

The construction permit refers to the silo, but also to several buildings that can be raised up to 7 meters in height, facilities intended especially for “crushing, screening of stones, washing, storage of sand”. And the quarryman has the right to do that.

In her analysis, the public rapporteur did not retain any of the numerous points raised by the associations, Val d'Issole, France Nature Environnement Paca, UDVN 83. The court did the same.

Several aspects are of concern in the geographic sector where biodiversity conservation should be possible, even necessary.

But the building permit application was submitted in 2013, a year before the Sainte-Baume massif was classified as a Natura 2000 site.

The same applies to the regional nature park, created in 2017, “after the date of assessment of the building permit application”.

The judgment repeatedly mentions that the clearing permit issued in 2010 by the prefecture of Var is and remains valid.

“We would like the legal saga to stop, it is damaging the image of the municipality,” said Me ClĂ©mence Monel, representative of Mazaugues.

Protected species

The lawyer who supported the associations' appeal, Me Nicolas Hequet, returned to the presence of bat colonies protected at the European level and the attack on the space that “contributes to the nutrition of the described species”.

But in administrative law, “it does not appear from the file that the project could endanger the environment,” the court ruled.

This point will still be disputed by the associations, “the soap opera will continue”, screeches Provansa Granulats. Until then, Val d'Issole, France Nature Environnement Paca and UDVN 83 must pay legal costs: 2,000 euros to be paid to the quarry and the municipality.

At the end of December 2023, the Court of Cassation annulled the decision recognizing the attack on protected species. The debate focuses on the role of control that the state must exercise.

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