Laurent Wauquiez on the tar and concrete highway. The LR president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region announced on Saturday his region’s exit from “zero net artificialization” (ZAN), a system piloted by the regions and which aims to stop the concreteization of soils in 2050, criticizing a law “ruralicide”. “Putting building permit decisions on rural areas under wraps means that we are denying ourselves any form of future (…) I have decided that the region is withdrawing from the process. We do it in conjunction with the departments with which we discussed it,” declared Laurent Wauquiez, in Alpe d’Huez (Isère), to the loud applause of members of the Association of Rural Mayors of France (AMRF) gathered in congress.
The ZAN law, adopted in July, entrusts the regions with the task of setting an objective for reducing the concreteization of land through their planning document (Sraddet), to achieve “zero net artificialization” in 2050. To do this, they will have to distribute the reduction effort between the different zones of their regional perimeter, from the territorial coherence plans (Scot) at the department level, to the local urban planning plans (PLU) and municipal maps. The artificialization of soils is also one of the factors aggravating the effects of global warming, in particular preventing soils from capturing rainwater, which promotes flooding.
A highway for 2027?
“If people come to us it is precisely because there is a little space, otherwise what are our chances? », questioned Laurent Wauquiez, accusing Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne of “not having kept her promises”. Until now discreet on the national political scene, Laurent Wauquiez, who harbors presidential ambitions for 2027, is due to make his national political comeback on Sunday in Valence (Drôme) at the Young Republicans campus.
In front of rural mayors, the boss of the region recalled his rural roots before denouncing a “two-speed” France between rich metropolises and impoverished countryside. Accused of clear cuts in cultural subsidies in his region, he invoked the cultural rebalancing necessary according to him “to bring more culture to rural areas”. “The Ministry of Culture (…) allocates 800 euros per inhabitant to the inhabitants of Paris in its cultural policy budget. In our rural areas (…) it is 20 euros per inhabitant which is allocated,” he said. “Don’t local people have the right to libraries and festivals? “, he asked again.