Adapting to coastline retreat: « Coastline retreat - AXIS 2 » aid
The Fonds d’accélération de la transition écologique dans les territoires, also known as the « Green Fund », is an innovative scheme designed to help local authorities boost their environmental performance, adapt their areas to climate change and improve their living environment. Announced on August 27 by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, the fund has been allocated €2 billion in decentralised credits to the prefects to finance projects submitted by local authorities and their public or private partners. It will come into effect at the start of 2023. Aid is available for coastal areas particularly affected by rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
À télécharger : cahier_accompagnement_axe2_recul_trait_cote.pdf (660 Kio)
In response to the retreat of the coastline, Act no. 2021-1104 of 22 August 2021 gives local authorities new powers to organise the reorganisation of their territory as part of their urban planning and development responsibilities. The legislative provisions introduced are based on four priorities: understanding how the coastline is retreating; developing the legal tools needed to manage existing assets that are particularly vulnerable; regulating new construction; and enabling spatial reorganisation.
The reorganisation of the area as a result of the retreat of the coastline must be seen as a comprehensive development operation requiring a variety of actions: territorial diagnostics, urban/spatial programming studies, land strategy, capitalisation of public development operators, property acquisitions, environmental procedures, various works and in particular demolition and renaturation work, as well as consultation and communication initiatives. The challenge is to create a leverage effect to initiate and carry out these actions.
However, the amounts available are generally insufficient to meet the needs. What’s more, erosion is not a major natural hazard. Consequently, the redevelopment of areas threatened by erosion is not eligible for existing compensation funds linked to major natural hazards. The launch of redevelopment initiatives generates significant short-term financial requirements in terms of studies and operational actions. National funding should therefore help to smooth out the peaks in expenditure and provide greater support for the most vulnerable areas.
The Climate and Resilience Act provides for a decree to be issued setting out the « list of municipalities whose town planning and development policies must be adapted to the retreat of the coastline ». This list of municipalities forms the basis of the new system for adapting coastal areas to the retreat of the coastline in the context of climate change. The municipalities on this list benefit from support from the State and its operators. They also benefit from a specific legal framework created by the Climate and Resilience Act in the town-planning code (partial retention of building rights in return for a deposit and an obligation to demolish in due course). Lastly, they benefit from a whole range of specific tools (coastline pre-emption rights, real leases to adapt to coastal erosion, the possibility of derogating from certain provisions of the Coastal Act, property valuation methods, etc.) to enable the spatial reorganisation of their territory.
The aim now is to support the roll-out of this policy, which will have a structuring effect on coastal areas and their ability to adapt to the effects of climate change (larger and more frequent climatic events, rising sea levels).
Ecological ambition of the project funded
With the aim of adapting to climate change, the projects financed by the Green Fund must support local authorities in implementing operations to anticipate and adapt to the effects of climate change and the retreat of the coastline.
Links with other related schemes
This funding is in addition to the subsidies for studies and operations for the flexible management of the coastline and coastal strip allocated by the Ministry via the State budget and via the « coastal » envelope of the « fonds de concours » of the French Transport Infrastructure Funding Agency (AFITF).
In addition to financial support for local authority projects, the Green Fund can finance engineering services for project developers who need them to facilitate the implementation of projects financed by this Green Fund measure. In addition, the Green Fund can help local authorities to develop projects with a strong environmental ambition from an envelope dedicated to engineering services for coordination, planning or strategy.
Where appropriate, project promoters will be able to mobilise the intervention capacities of the Banque des territoires in the form of local engineering financing (to support the setting up and structuring of projects) or savings fund loan offers (to strengthen the leverage effect of the green fund in favour of impact investments).
Nature of projects
The support fund for the adaptation of coastal areas to the retreat of the coastline should make it possible to co-finance :
1) Local maps projecting the retreat of the coastline over a 30-year and 30-100-year timeframe, which local authorities must carry out and incorporate into their town planning documents in accordance with the provisions of article L 321-15 of the Environment Code and articles L121-22-1 and L121-22-2 of the Town Planning Code;
The list of local maps selected for the Green Fund is drawn up by the departmental prefects (DDT-M and overseas departments).
The departmental prefect then selects the projects and determines the amount of the subsidy awarded, after examination by the relevant decentralised departments.
Local steering committees may be set up under the authority of the regional prefects and/or departmental prefects, who will decide on their composition.
Determining the amount of the grant awarded
The « Fonds d’accompagnement pour l’adaptation des territoires littoraux au recul du trait de côte » will finance up to 80% of the cost of local maps projecting the retreat of the coastline, as provided for in article L121-22-1 of the French town planning code.
A financial agreement must be signed before the grant can be awarded.
2) Territorial redevelopment actions, contracted with the State as part of partnership development projects (PPA ) undertaken in exposed coastal areas;
The principle adopted is that of the « run of the mill ». To apply for a PPA, the president of the EPCI submits the application to the relevant departmental prefect.
The departmental prefect will select the winning projects and determine the amount of the subsidy awarded, after the applications have been examined on a case-by-case basis by the decentralised government departments (DDT-M and overseas departments).
Prefects may seek the opinion of the DGALN/DHUP to verify the appropriateness of grant applications exceeding €1m for prefiguration PPAs and exceeding €4m for operational PPAs.
Determining the amount of grant awarded
The grant is awarded subject to signature of the PPA contract by the parties, together with a financial plan listing all the actions to be carried out within the area in question over a maximum period of 10 years and a clause for periodic review of the progress of the actions included in the contract. Any amendment to the contract is subject to a prior progress report and an update of the financial package.
As an indication, the overall rate of financing by the Green Fund could not exceed 50% of the total amount of the actions included in the PPA contract.
The content of a PPA and its funding arrangements are governed by the « national framework for PPA projects » available at the following link:
Funding is provided by means of a grant award decree.
3) Experiments to adapt or even relocate open-air hotel facilities (campsites) located in municipalities exposed to coastline retreat, as a continuation of the measures initiated as part of the Destination France programme.
The departmental prefect will select the winning projects and determine the amount of the grant awarded, after the applications have been assessed on a case-by-case basis by the decentralised government departments (DDT-M and overseas departments).
Determining the amount of the grant awarded
By way of indication, the overall rate of financing by the Green Fund may not exceed 50% of the total amount of the actions or operations supported.
Support for development projects and works is provided by means of a grant award agreement.
Grant award conditions
If necessary, the fund may be combined with other government grants, with a minimum of 20% of the funding provided by the project leader. The rules specific to each European fund also apply. Each project leader must therefore check that the financial support from the Green Fund is compatible with the State aid regime.
When the grant is subject to decree no. 2018-514 of 25 June 2018 on State grants for investment projects, the financial agreement is drawn up in accordance with the provisions of the said decree.
Where the local authority is the project owner and beneficiary of the grant, it must ensure a minimum contribution to the financing of this project, under the conditions set out in III of article L.1111-10 of the CGCT.
Operators of the PPA contract may also be awarded subsidies:
Public developers (public development establishments, SEMs, SPLs) or operators they may designate (SPLAINs, for example) and if they are carrying out territorial redevelopment operations within their remit.
Public land establishments on behalf of local authorities affected by the retreat of the coastline, with which they have signed a land intervention agreement;
The 50 Pas Géométriques agencies within the limits of their remit;
The Conservatoire du Littoral.
Any grant from the Green Fund may only be paid on proof of completion of the expenditure items for the operation targeted by the grant. However, an advance may be paid on commencement of the project and subsequent instalments may be paid as the project progresses. These may not exceed 80% of the estimated amount of the grant.
The balance of the Green Fund grant may not exceed the maximum amount of aid granted as set out in the financing decision or agreement and will be paid on the basis of an updated implementation report.
In this respect, the model financial agreement stipulates that the project promoter must produce supporting documents (certificate of achievement of objectives, summary statement of expenditure, etc.) to ensure that these rules are properly applied. In the event of non-compliance with these rules, the subsidy financed by the Green Fund must be repaid.
Wherever possible, the projects selected will be the subject of a contractual agreement under the CPER (or amendments to the CCT in overseas France) and will be included in the CRTE.
For the funding of local maps for projecting the retreat of the coastline and actions relating to campsites, the grant must be awarded on the basis of the signature of a financial agreement or a decision awarding the grant. This agreement/decision may specify in particular :
The expenditure subsidised by the Green Fund and the timetable for its completion;
The grant payment schedule;
The communication rules for Green Fund grants;
Repayment terms and conditions in the event of non-implementation of the project or non-compliance with the commitments made.
The PPA is equivalent to a contract. This contract will include the roadmap setting out the actions included in the APP. In particular, this roadmap will specify the expenditure to be subsidised and the timetable for its completion, the timetable for payment of the subsidy, the rules for communication in the case of « Green Fund » aid and the arrangements for reimbursement if the project is not completed or if the commitments made in the urban programme itself are not met, in terms of exemplarity or timetable.
Documents and any information belonging to the beneficiary and communicated in the files on any medium whatsoever, as well as any element obtained in application of the decision or the funding agreement, are not considered confidential, with the exception of innovations involving a patent already registered or in the process of being registered.
The summary of the project and its location, proposed when the application is submitted, may be used for communication purposes relating to the Green Fund, or may be reused in inventories.
In addition, the award of a grant under this fund implies acceptance by the project promoter to :
Participate in meetings organised by the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion or its decentralised departments to promote, capitalise on and enhance the project;
Invite the relevant State departments and operators to take part in the project steering structure set up, where appropriate.