Artificialisation of soils – the regulatory mechanism for implementing the act is condemned for failing to define the scale of “artificialised” areas

Décision de justice
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In response to an appeal by the Association des Maires de France (AMF), the Conseil d'État today ruled on the regulatory mechanism for implementing the 2021 law requiring a reduction in the artificialisation of land. The Conseil d'État censured the mechanism on a point relating to the definition of artificialised areas. The law required the Government to specify the scale at which artificialised areas were to be identified, but the contested decree did not include the necessary details

The 2021 Climate and Resilience Act set a target of “Net Zero Artificialisation” (NZA) of land in France by 2050. The measure aims to limit the urbanisation of natural, agricultural and forested areas by setting a progressive timetable for reducing artificialisation. As required by law, the Government set out the conditions for implementing this objective across the country, in two decrees dated 29 April 2022.

The AMF asked the Conseil d'État to rescind these decrees.

The Conseil d'État rejected the appeal with regard to regional plans. It ruled that setting targets for reducing artificialisation at a regional level, within the framework of SRADDETs (regional plans), which would then be cascaded down in local documents at an intermunicipal or municipal level, is compliant with the 2021 Act. 

The Conseil d'État did, however, condemn the decree with regard to the scale to be taken into account in determining the artificialisation of land. By simply referring to “polygons”, without giving sufficient details on how these would be determined and applied, the Government failed to meet its legal obligation to establish the scale at which artificialisation should be assessed in planning and urban development documents. The Conseil d'État, therefore, rescinded this point of the text.

It should be noted that two new decrees for implementing “Net Zero Artificialisation” were announced by the Government, and made available for public consultation last summer.


Read the decisions 465341 and 465343 (in French)