Southern shrike: 1 – Amazon: 0. Tuesday, November 9, the administrative court of Nîmes decided to cancel the environmental authorization of an Amazon sorting center of 38,000 m² on agricultural land in the Gard. The reason for this ecological victory: the presence in the area of the shrike, a protected species. Except under conditions of general interest, it is forbidden to destroy its habitat.
“Despite the probable creation of 600 full-time equivalent jobs and the economic benefits […], it did not meet an imperative reason of overriding interest, a concept very strictly appreciated by the jurisprudence of the Council of State ” specified the court of Nîmes, which must rule ” very soon “ on the seven requests submitted to it concerning the building permit.
The sequel after the advertisement
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This is the third major setback in Amazon’s expansion strategy in France. A year ago, Amazon abandoned its mega-project of 189,000 m² on agricultural land in Ensisheim in Alsace. A similar project was canceled on October 25 in Montbert, near Nantes. Contacted by AFP, Amazon had not reacted Tuesday evening.
Several applicant environmental associations, including Adere (association for the development of employment while respecting the environment), also welcomed the court’s decision. They fight against a “Establishment which would distort three major sites, classified as World Heritage by Unesco” : the Pont du Gard site, the Gardon gorges biosphere zone and the dry stone know-how heritage.
4,000 utilities per day
The giant warehouse project was widely criticized for its environmental impact by associations and local opponents. “No less than 38,000 m² of AOC agricultural land were going to be concreted, with an influx of 1,000 heavy goods vehicles and 4,000 utility vehicles per day, less than 5 km from the Pont du Gard”, welcomed in a press release the Attac association. Concreteization now prohibited in commercial areas, but which remains permitted in e-commerce warehouses, excluded from the moratorium on artificialization adopted in the Climate Act.
Amazon, a pollution giant that ignores itself
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The project also worried about its impact on local businesses and jobs as the cities of Arles and Nîmes “Already undergo major vacations in their city centers”. The growing use of e-commerce has indeed destroyed 114,000 jobs in the non-food trade sector in France between 2009 and 2018, according to a study published by two economists, Ano Kuhanathan and Florence Mouradian, in November 2020 relayed by the independent media “The Releve and the Plague”.