Environment: the Seine Normande Loops Regional Natural Park under close surveillance

Environment: the Seine Normande Loops Regional Natural Park under close surveillance
Environment: the Seine Normande Loops Regional Natural Park under close surveillance

Founded in 1974, the Seine Normande Loops Regional Natural Park extends over 89,700 hectares. The flagship of Normandy, it has 77 municipalities in Eure and Seine-Maritime and is crossed by major routes. Above all, it includes remarkable and therefore fragile natural sites such as the Vernier marsh or the Brotonne peninsula with its protected peat bogs. It is on this site that the State decided to launch an experiment within the framework of the National Environmental Health Plan (PNSE) with the establishment of the “Patrouilleurs de Brotonne”, a unit to combat environmental damage. (CeLEA) of the national gendarmerie with the mission of prevention, controls and, if necessary, repression.

On February 13, the prefecture of Normandy brought together the national gendarmerie, the National Forestry Office (ONF), the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), the Seine Normande Loops Regional Natural Park, country guards , elected officials and the public prosecutor “to add skills in coordination in order to cover the ground. Here, we wanted to go further,” indicated Jean-François Albertini, prefect of Seine-Maritime and Normandy during a trip to the site this Tuesday, April 30.

The gendarmes deployed a unit “made up of sixteen reservist gendarmes specially trained in environmental law under the orders of investigators. In shifts, they carry out rounds once a week and from May, twice a week, including once at the weekend when the public is busiest. The goal is firstly information and prevention for users, then the treatment of offenses against the environment which can be very diverse such as illegal dumping, illegal fishing, burning, prohibited motorized vehicles and also overcrowding. which is not an offense, but which weakens these spaces,” explained the prefect.

These investigations can lead to the identification of “more serious behaviors up to very lucrative delinquency networks. These patrol officers to whom we owe the same respect as other members of the police will therefore be required to draw up reports, or even take legal action which will have graduated responses such as the confiscation of motorcycles, work of general interest (TIG), ecological restoration courses. Some may find themselves before the criminal court to be sentenced to a heavy fine or a prison sentence,” added Frédéric Teillet, the public prosecutor. A review will be carried out after the summer season and this system “is intended to be reproduced on other sites as soon as we have learned the lessons”, concluded Jean-François Albertini.

On foot or by mountain bike, the CeLEA reservist gendarmes have already carried out nine patrols in the Brotonne Peninsula. They are assigned to the brigade of the commune of Rives-en-Seine (Seine-Maritime), like brigadier Audrey Daubresse of the Rouen company: “I have been a reservist gendarme for a year. My father was a gendarme and I lived in the brigade. My job in the civil sector is responsible for quality and risk management in industry. I have always had a penchant for protecting nature. That’s why I volunteered. I was trained by the OFB on various environmental offenses and procedures. We are asked, for example, to observe illegal dumping, take photos and find clues, but above all to meet walkers to explain the reasons for our mission.”

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