Fires: the National Assembly increases the fines in the event of insufficient clearing

The brush feeds the fires

Fires: the National Assembly increases the fines in the event of insufficient clearing

The brush feeds the fires. A finding that prompted the deputies to vote, Tuesday, May 16, in favor of an increase in fines when owners of plots in areas at risk of fire fail in their legal obligations of clearing. The oppositions pleaded for more prevention.

"We must leave nothing to chance, and make it known how crucial they are", insisted Dominique Faure, Minister in charge of local authorities, present at the National Assembly for the examination of a bill to limit the fire risks, already adopted at first reading, unanimously in the Senate.

The minister supported the increase in fines, going from 30 to 50 euros per square meter subject to an obligation to clear brushwood to limit the spread of fires, in territories classified at risk and departments where woods and forests are particularly exposed.

“There are already criminal and financial sanctions in the texts. (…) It is better to dialogue rather than go through the sanction", pleaded the deputy La France insoumise (LFI) of Creuse Catherine Couturier, calling not to increase the bills of "small owners".

“The issue is really information. A number of small owners are unaware of this legal obligation, ”added Les Républicains de Meurthe-et-Moselle deputy Thibault Bazin.

"This is a legal obligation that must be implemented for everyone's safety," said Renaissance rapporteur Sophie Panonacle, on the contrary, before the article was adopted by a show of hands.

Drone control rejected

MEPs also adopted an article to limit the risks around Seveso sites (which contain a certain amount of hazardous materials). When these are located less than 200 meters from woods or forests in territories at risk of fire or departments where woods and forests are particularly exposed, they would be obliged to clear brush over a distance of 100 meters instead of 50 meters. The distance may even be increased to 200 meters by decision of the prefect.

On the other hand, and against the opinion of the government and the rapporteur, the deputies rejected by two votes the possibility of using drones to control the implementation of the legal obligations of brush clearing. The elected LFI, environmentalists and socialists were opposed to it in particular.

The deputies also ruled out restoring a tax credit for owners who had incurred costs to meet their clearing obligations, a proposal from the National Rally.