It took the publication of two vitriolic reports for the State to decide to “change method” in its fight against green algae in Brittany. It was the Senate which first denounced at the end of May “the very insufficient progress” of the various plans undertaken to eradicate this scourge which has plagued the region for twenty years. “The results are not up to the stakes: the nitrate levels in Breton waters, responsible for the proliferation of algae, have certainly fallen but still remain clearly above the objectives”, noted the report, asking the public authorities “for a stronger ambition ”.
A few weeks later, the Court of Auditors had driven the point home. In a block of 277 pages, the magistrates pointed out the effectiveness of the fight plans between 2007 and 2020, believing that the objectives had been “ill-defined” and that their effects had “been uncertain on the quality of the water”.
Farmers will have to respect their commitments
Summoned to review its copy, the state is currently preparing a new fight plan which should be “finalized this fall” and be implemented from 2022 until 2027, regional prefect Emmanuel Berthier said on Friday. This time, it will be a question of “working as close as possible to the field” by involving the agricultural world more and in particular the cooperatives. “We must take measures so that the nitrate levels recorded in the watersheds decrease”, underlined the prefect.
Recalling that the agricultural world was not the only one “concerned” by this green tide, he nevertheless invited farmers to take their responsibilities in this matter. This will involve contracts signed with them over a period of three years. “If they get the results we have achieved together, it continues,” said Emmanuel Berthier. On the other hand, we are in the process of defining the rules that we would impose on operations if the contractual results were not met ”.