Environmental Law | Fieldfisher
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Environmental Law



The desire to simplify the environmental regulatory framework emphasizes the already existing challenges to strict environmental law in the presence of economic incentives for growth.

You will find a summary of the main provisions adopted which may be of interest to your company. They relate to labour law (1), competition, distribution and consumer law (2), telecommunications law (3), e-commerce (4), company and tax law (5), banking law (6), environmental law (7) and transport law (8).

The desire to simplify the environmental regulatory framework which is reflected in the Macron Law emphasises the existing challenges between strict environmental law and economic incentives for growth.

  • The "simplification" of environmental law
    • In order to simplify environmental law, the Government can 'adopt by order' ("ordonnance") any measure intended to i) expedite the processing of construction and development projects, particularly projects "that support ecological transition", ii) reform the environmental assessment of projects, plans and programmes, iii ) reform the public information and participation procedures within the development of projects, plans and programmes and iv) accelerate dispute settlement related to projects likely to have an environmental impact.


  • The development of the authority for environmentally protected facilities (ICPE)
    • The authority for environmentally protected facilities (known in France under the acronym "ICPE") is to be extended to nationwide projects of major interest for the economic activity. The government can also, by order, apply this to facilities, structures, works and activities (known in France under the acronym "IOTA") subject to water resource legislation.


  • Project certificates
    • Project certificates are now also required in the Ile-de-France region for projects connected to economic activity and in the Rhône-Alpes region for projects connected to the rail sector.


  • Reduction of the time limit to challenge the authorisation of livestock facilities
    • The time-limit allowed to challenge authorisations granted to livestock facilities is to be reduced to four months, with no possibility of extension. The starting point of the time limit is the publication or display of the authorisation decision, the opening of the facility has no effect on the starting point of the time-limit.


  • The demolition of buildings following the cancellation of the building permit will be limited to certain legally defined areas
    • The power of a civil court to order the demolition of a building following cancellation of the building permit in a finding of ultra vires of the administrative court will be limited to certain areas (such as Natura 2000 sites, areas contained in a plan to prevent natural, technological or mining hazards or areas for the promotion of architecture and heritage).


  • New powers for the French Nuclear Safety Authority
    • The French Nuclear Safety Authority has been granted new powers in order to ensure cooperation with competent authorities of other States and to provide "consulting services" and "technical support missions" in the context of conventions and to "examine the conformity of nuclear facilities intended for export to the obligations applicable in France to the same type of installation".


  • The project for storage of radioactive waste in deep rock repository and the notion of reversibility
    • With regard to the project for storage of radioactive waste in deep rock repository (also called "Cigéo") in Bure (Meuse), article 201 of the Macron Law sets out that the period of study and research for the design of a storage centre would be extended until 2017. The concept of reversibility, defined in the law applicable to storage in deep rock repository, is expected to lead to an inspection of the installations concerned every ten years. The Constitutional Council rejected this article, introduced by amendment, considering that it was adopted through a procedure contrary to the Constitution. The Ministry of Economy indicated that "the testing of burying nuclear waste (Cigéo) should be the subject of a bill during the first half of 2016".

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