This is a considerable change for the protection of biodiversity. Parliament definitively adopted, on Wednesday January 25, a text to combat high fences in natural areas, particularly in Sologne, in order to better protect wildlife and fight against the excesses of certain hunting practices.
The Assembly voted without modification, by ninety-eight votes against two, a bill by Senator Jean-Noël Cardoux (Les Républicains). “This is an important moment for our biodiversity”, assured the Secretary of State for Ecology, Bérangère Couillard. This text aims to “to put an end to more than 3,000 kilometers of fences which have devastated the landscapes of our Sologne and denatured whole sections of our woods and our forests in very many departments”.
In practice, it prohibits fences installed after 2005 (the year of the law relating to the development of rural territories) and exceeding 1.20 meters in height. The proposed law defines new models of fences that are better integrated into the natural environment and prohibits grazing (feeding of wild animals) and foddering in hermetic hunting enclosures.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 kilometers of fences in Sologne
The fences must allow the passage of fauna on the ground. The text provides that they cannot injure or be used to trap game. In order to prevent a “live clay pigeon shooting by which animals are killed without any chance of escaping”, underlined the rapporteur Richard Ramos, MP MoDem. However, there are exceptions for high fences to protect roads, railways or forest regeneration.
In Sologne, fences, sometimes enhanced with barbed wire to better contain deer, have multiplied in recent years, with between 3,000 and 5,000 kilometers of enclosures extending over this territory. The phenomenon is spreading more and more to other regions, from Picardy to the Landes, via Normandy or Brenne.
Renaissance deputy François Cormier-Bouligeon claimed a fight against the “great-enriching Sologne owners” : “We were the Davids against the Goliaths! “We consulted, gathered and mobilized both hunters and non-hunters, contemplative walkers, sportsmen and elected officials”, he said. The text had received the support of the National Federation of Hunters.
To compensate for the lowering of the fences and encourage their disappearance, the proposed law creates a fourth class fine (fixed fine of 135 euros, which can be reduced or increased) for entering private rural or forest property, a much criticized measure by the left.