• Eze is the only city in the Alpes-Maritimes to be part of the government's list of municipalities which must act as a priority in the face of coastal erosion.

  • Operational tools will be put in place by the government to help the municipality observe this advance in sea level, act as best it can, in particular by limiting the possibilities of building in the areas concerned.

  • The metropolis of Nice is working with experts from its health and environmental agency on these issues and plans to draw inspiration from solutions from neighboring countries.

Between Nice and Menton, Eze, a village of picturesque and medieval houses at an altitude of 429 meters, extends from the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

“In ten years, the beach has shrunk considerably, observes Frédéric Billy, director general of services at the town hall of Eze.

It is very narrow, 3 or 4 m wide.

So when summer arrives, it's hard to leave the 1.20 m between the coastline and the restaurants.

The beach is disappearing.

»

Faced with this reality, the city council has deliberated to be part of the list of 126 "priority" cities threatened by rising sea levels, published by the government as part of the 2021 Climate Law. , Eze was content to "replenish the fattening of its beach with 1,000 tonnes of pebbles each year and thus save its beach so that it lasts at least the season".

The town hall has already thought about solutions.

“We wanted to create a dyke to counter the currents that run along the coast and prevent the beach from being washed away by the swells,” continues Frédéric Billy.

But that's impossible because of the posidonia”, these seagrass beds which make up the Mediterranean ecosystem, and which themselves play an important role in protecting the coasts against erosion.

A mapping carried out within four years

This adhesion to the list will allow the municipality to have operational tools of the State to limit the right to build in the zones concerned.

The government will also help it set up, via subsidies, “studies of the phenomenon to have more knowledge on the subject and thus better manage the evolution of the coastline”.

After these studies, a mapping must be carried out within four years.

The general manager of Eze services adds: "We were surprised to see that we were the only municipality in the Alpes-Maritimes, and one of the few close to the Mediterranean, to adhere to this system [the majority of municipalities in listed are on the Atlantic coast].

For us, this is a subject that concerns everyone.

We thought we were taking a global approach.

»

Seven coastal towns were concerned as "more vulnerable"

Indeed, a pre-list of 864 "more vulnerable" municipalities was first drawn up by the government according to the real estate and economic activities exposed to the risks of marine flooding.

The town halls were then asked to join, or not, this system.

“We consulted the 16 municipalities that are on the maralpine coast, explains Arnaud Fredefon, head of the maritime service of the Departmental Directorate of Territories and the Sea. Seven of them were considered to be more affected by this phenomenon of shoreline retreat and with buildings in the immediate vicinity of the coast, two conditions to be part of the decree.

»

For him, if only Eze accepted, it is because the other municipalities "were taken aback on the deadlines" and that they already have "the means to observe the phenomenon".

He also mentions areas “closer”, they were not “particularly adapted to this device” compared to what had been observed via the aerial images transmitted to the government.

Observation organizations already dedicated to these issues

Other municipalities, or groups of municipalities, have “already observation bodies for this phenomenon”.

Like the Nice Côte d'Azur metropolis, which has set up a health and environmental safety and risk management agency.

For Richard Chemla, in charge of the ecological transition in the metropolis, this climate law is precisely “a way of saying that we were right to create this agency.

The experts will also meet soon to reflect on how to act in the face of rising waters.

One thinks in particular of what is done in the Netherlands with sand pumps, this device which consists of pouring sand against the dike in order to create a kind of natural barrier serving to prevent the risk of flooding.

»

The list published in

the Official Journal

must be revised every nine years, but in any case, Arnaud Fredefon recalls that "cities can join the system at any time if they wish".

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