Preservation of coastal gem

The future of the Lido de Sète, a 12-km sandy barrier beach on France’s Mediterranean coast, is in good hands, with funding earmarked to halt the erosion process, reinforce the dunes and develop facilities for tourism.

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The project will ensure that the wealth of ecological features in the area is preserved and at the same time will develop other features so that both locals and tourists can enjoy the natural wonders, with no detrimental effects on the environment.

Total and EU funding

The project ‘Operation for the sustainable protection and development of the Sète sand barrier beach in Marseillan’ has a total eligible budget of €23 139 500, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing €8 098 800 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Tide turns for the better

The spectacular barrier beach is located between the Thau lagoon and the Mediterranean Sea. In recent years, it has been under increasing pressure from various sources, principally demographic growth, tourism, greater traffic volumes and disturbances to ecosystems, all potentially putting its fragile natural balance in jeopardy.
To address these risks, the project has set out three main areas of work. Firstly, it will preserve the current site and control the damaging erosion process by unloading huge volumes of sand, pushing the road system back away from the beach area, and re-establishing a dune ridge at the upper part of the beach. The ridge will be 2-3 metres in height and 20 metres in width, the beach area some 70 metres in width, offering more space for visitors.

Redevelopments add to quality of life

In terms of providing better access, roundabouts will be built along the road system to help traffic flows, parking areas will be reorganised and improved, and alternative access methods will be developed. Landscaped zones will also add to the aesthetics of the area. Other features to be worked on during the project include a network of pedestrian and cycle paths as well as toilet facilities. An historic monument, that until now has not been preserved, will see renovation work carried out, providing yet another focal point for the area.

Economic and environmental concerns taken on board

For the local population and businesses, the benefits expected include a positive and long-term impact on tourism, better traffic flows and protection of the dunes and lagoon areas. In terms of employment, 60 jobs will be created during the implementation phase, 28 during the operational phase. Throughout the entire project development, the principles of preventive action and correction will be strictly adhered to, notably through integrated management of the coastal zone and by re-establishing the areas natural hydrodynamic system.

Draft date