Integrated action plan for the cleaning of the Channel coast (France)

The General Council of Manche (GC50) developed a guide to help local authorities, social enterprises and other stakeholders wishing to organise cleanups of the 300 km of beaches and 50 km of rocky coasts that make up the French Channel coast. In 2004, CG50, with input from local stakeholders, also prepared an Action Plan for cleaning the Channel coast while respecting the local flora and fauna. For the implementation of the Action Plan CG50 provides technical and financial support to the participating coastal municipalities. These municipalities receive funding for three years and have the option to reapply at the end of that period for a new round of funding. Together with the Action Plan and the cleaning campaigns, awareness raising campaigns are also conducted.


Place / Location Sub national, General Council of Manche
Commencement Date 2002
Duration Ongoing
Theme Prevention, Mitigation, Awareness
Type of Initiative Practice/ Activity/ Action, Campaign
Initiated by General Council of Manche
Involved Stakeholders professionals, local authorities, associations, Seine Normandy Water Agency, the State services
Funding/Financial Support Yes, by  General Council of Manche and Seine Normandy Water Agency.
Success Rate Very Successful
Case Study prepared by

Thierry Marié

Waste and Planification

monitoring the quality of coastal waters

Conseil général de la Manche

Pôle de développement et aménagement du territoire

Direction de l'ingénierie territoriale – D.I.T.

Tel : -

Submitted by

Isabelle Poitou, MerTerre

Project URL and Other Sources of Information:

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/icon-pdf.png Report (PDF)

What is at Stake?

The project started after a study about seaweed between Agon-Coutainville and Surville was conducted in 1999 at the request of a farmer. Two more studies followed in 2000 and 2001, which showed that a lot of waste was found on the beach. In May 2001, the General Council of Manche decided to create a "Sustainable development program" (now recognised as an Agenda 21). One of the items on the program is "clean and respect the beach, and particularly seaweed".

In order to help to organise this action, an experiment/pilot study was conducted in Cote des isle (Denneville-Carteret) from June 2002 to December 2003. Finally, in 2004, CG50, with input from local stakeholders, prepared an Action Plan for cleaning the Channel coast while respecting the local flora and fauna.

What is the Scale of the Problem?

The Action Plan was created in response to the request of tourists and the public to "clean the beach". It was also created in order to help municipalities to manage the beach in a sustainable way, to protect the bird species Charadrius alexandrinus (included in the European Bird Directive) and to help protect against the erosion of the beach and the sand dunes (leaving seaweed on the beach can greatly help with this).

Project/ Activity Results:

As most of the municipalities in the General Council of Manche are involved in this waste collection from beaches, there is less waste found beaches. Through various activities, awareness has been raised in key stakeholder sectors such as the general public and tourists, who show increased respect for the beach, and professionals such as fishermen and shellfish farmers, who take part in waste collections.

Success and Fail Factors and Lessons learned:

The concerted nature of the project is one of its main success factors.

The main difficulty encountered is the resistance of some municipalities to ban mechanical waste collection or to stop removing seaweed from the beach (since tourists believe that a beach with seaweed is a dirty beach). It has also been difficult to convince some politicians or businessmen (shops, hotels etc.) to take part in the activities.

Natural phenomena also interfere with the activities of the action plan, as after strong winds a lot of waste is found in small creeks or in the mouths of the river.

Additional Information on Finances:

The study that was conducted in 2002-2003 and the resulting Action Plan cost 79,600 Euros and was financed by CG50 (21,000 Euros), Collectivités which are Parishes or Municipalities (16,000 Euros), ADEME which is an agency for the environment (21,300 Euros) and AESN which is an agency for water in Normandy (21,300 Euros).

The dissemination material that was distrbuted after the study, including a short document for the public and a notice board, cost 6,000 Euros.

After the Action Plan was created, the CG50 helped the municipalities to "clean up, in way sustainable" (i.e. not to remove seaweed and only collect waste manually). This financial support amounts to 20% of the required budget, without exceeding 1,000 €/km/year, and is only given for 3 years. After the three years the municipalities have to take full financial responsibility for the cleanups.

 However, municipalities also received financial support from other sources, such as:

  • DIREN Financing (named DREAL - direction of the French government): contributes 100% of the required funds for the organisation on Natura 2000 areas - conditions apply (for waste collection on NATURA 2000 areas - service contracts for which there is no problem with funding).
  • Agence de l’Eau Financing (agency for water in Normandy): 40% of the required amount for the cleanup of the beach sector on no-swimming areas (where swimming areas are defined as those areas where at any time of the year the beach is monitored).

According to the municipalities, the cost of cleaning up the beaches is 500 to 3,500 €/km or 1,000 to 2,000 €/m3 of waste collected.

Very often, it is associations that help people find a job (they receive financing from government for this kind of job), who are involved in this kind of waste collect on the beach.

Assessment of Project/ Activity Sustainability:

The project is very sustainable, as long as certain prerequisites are met. These include involving sea professionals, environmental organisations/associations and other civil groups, and ensuring that a strong dissemination strategy (which in this case involved notice boards, a conference, a movie and scientific studies on the beach) is implemented.

How Transferable is the Project/ Activity to other European Countries/Seas?

The project is highly transferable throughout Europe.

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