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Land in France
puce Towards territorial charters of commitment for the preservation and sharing of land in Nouvelle Aquitaine
AGTER facilitates an experience of concerted local policy making

Following long-standing working relationships between the former Rhône-Alpes Region, the former Aquitaine Region and the Association of French Regions (ARF), the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region approached Agter in 2018 to help it pioneer the design of reciprocal land commitment charters with 3 territories : Grand Cognac, Bergeracois and Perigord-Limousin.

The said Region has expressed a strong will to act to preserve natural spaces and to reduce the effects of climate change, but also and at the same time, for the installation in agriculture and the renewal of generations. But this will must be translated into action on the ground.

At a time when the Law on the New Territorial Organization of the Republic (known as the NOTRe Law), promulgated on August 7, 2015, assigns to the Regions the leadership of local authorities for the thrifty management of land and when our association supports for the emergence of European land directives that will necessarily call for regional implementation, it was inconceivable not to take up the challenge.

During internships with AGTER, AgroParisTech students have carried out and shared with local partners a diagnosis by territory. We establish recommendations for reciprocal commitments between regions and territories.

By mutual agreement with the Region and the elected representatives of the area, we have abandoned our investigations in the Grand Cognac : the success of the Cognac spirit sector has made the elected representatives and local economic players lose all sense of responsibility. Our partnership could only serve as an alibi to consume more and more land and to continually cut down agricultural space for food production in favor of new vineyard plantations.

In the two other territories, we are producing recommendations to the various communities and institutions concerned. We will expose our reading of the situations and our proposals publicly, during citizen debates in these territories.

The four axes of reflection and work proposed by AGTER in the Bergeracois and Périgord Limousin

-1 Urban planning

The Climate and Resilience Act establishes the obligation to revise the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development and Territorial Equality (SRADDET) and the lower-level urban planning documents to achieve the objective of halving the rate of land consumption by 2030. This is an opportunity for local authorities to strengthen their actions for sobriety and to better size the areas open to urban expansion.

We emphasize the importance of the Region fulfilling its role as Associated Public Person (PPA) in the preparation of urban planning documents. At our suggestion, it is beginning to fulfil this function for the inter-municipal local urban planning plan (PLUI) of the Périgord-Limousin community of municipalities.

The latter is to be developed in the opposite way to what is usually done : the agricultural and forestry project is conceived as the basis of the local economy, with a project for a Perimeter for the Preservation of Agricultural and Natural Areas (PAEN).

Ground-mounted photovoltaics is also a big issue. It is a way to "bring in" money very easily. We have drawn up an analysis sheet on this point to combat ground-mounted photovoltaics.

-2 Farmer installation

The territory is very committed to the need to set up. A quarter of the farmers are over 60 years old. The farms are very difficult to pass on, with high levels of capitalisation and production systems that do not correspond to the wishes of candidates for takeover.

We are working in Bergeracois on the creation of a local installation-transmission commission (CLIT) where everyone must be represented : local elected officials and communities.

We propose an experiment on the scale of the department (or part of the department), knowing that the Direction Départementale des Territoires (DDT) of the Dordogne, with the agreement of the Regional Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry (DRAF), has agreed that this CLIT should examine declarations of intention to cease activity (DICA sent to the Mutualité Sociale Agricole), applications for authorisation to farm (sent to the DDT), and declarations of intention to dispose of (DIA sent to the SAFER). This is in line with our proposals for a new land law.

-3 Reorientation of production systems

If we want to bring sustainable development to agriculture, we must act on the production systems. This is not the easiest thing to do.

There is a drop in income and irregularity of income with very sudden drops in yields, as maize production provides an example : it has a production cost of 1000 euros per hectare and very fluctuating yields, as attested to by the territory diagnosis work carried out by the AgroParisTech students. There are problems with animal loading and the reclassification of agricultural wasteland (particularly vineyards).

We are promoting a reflection on reclassification and diversification contracts for human food and livestock with leguminous plants. This logic leads to addressing the reduction of the livestock load. Accepting the resulting drop in sales revenues is very complicated.

Generally speaking, seeking a rapid evolution of production systems in the direction of the collective interest (economic, social and ecological) requires directly confronting strong resistance (of various kinds). Methods and know-how must be proposed and developed.

Some examples of recommendations made to the territories

In terms of land preservation :

- To draw up an urban planning document that enshrines the agricultural and forestry nature of a community of rural communes and that has as its primary objective a strong renewal of agricultural workers and production systems ;
- Mobilise land resources : industrial wasteland, particularly sawmills, vacant housing, etc ;
- Oppose ground-based photovoltaic installations.

In agriculture and forestry :

- Establish, between local authorities and farmers, contracts for diversification or change of production within the framework of policies supporting the creation of added value ;
- Apply the said contracts to the recovery of wasteland, particularly vineyards ;
- Experiment with the coordination, at departmental level, of the bodies concerned with declarations of cessation of activity, enlargement and transfer of properties.


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