Article on the Saâne Territorial Project and on PACCo

The Saâne Territorial Project was launched a few years ago following significant flooding problems and a high threat of marine submersion. Assisted by the Coastline Conservation Society (Conservatoire du littoral), the Normandy Region (Région Normandie) and the Seine-Normandy Water Board (agence de l’eau Seine-Normandie), the local communities decided to set up a “Territorial Project”.

The Saâne Lower Valley Territorial Project

Since 2012, the Coastline Conservation Society has been managing the Saâne Lower Valley Territorial Project based on a global approach incorporating a local core, which has included the joint consultation of all stakeholders (private and public, local, departmental and regional). The Project comprises three components:

  1. Alleviating the threat of flooding by improving the flow of the Saâne river towards the sea whilst addressing the risk of marine submersion;
  2. Taking into consideration the overall socio-economic use made of the lower valley (local residents, users, farmers, fishermen, tourists, etc.);
  3. Enhancing the quality of the local setting (wetland, ecological preservation, landscape, water, etc.) and restoring its biodiversity.

Partners involved

These are the Seine-Normandy Water Board and the Normandy Region, which are funding the management of the project.

The Coastline Conservation Society is responsible for co-ordinating and implementing the project, with a resident on-site manager.

The partners, the State, Normandy Region, Seine-Maritime Department, the Community of the Terroir de Caux Communes (Communauté de Communes Terroir de Caux), the Dieppe Maritime, Longueil, Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer and Quiberville-sur-Mer Conglomerations Community (Communauté d’Agglomération) (the three lower valley communes), the local associations, residents, in-situ users (farmers, fishermen, hunters, etc.) have contributed to shaping project through two consultation bodies:

  • The Technical Committee, which facilitates the joint construction of the territorial project and monitoring of the consulting engineering company’s work. The Committee meets several times a year as required.
  • The Steering Committee, which has executive powers to approve the works and meets once a year.

Several public meetings and workshops have been held to keep local residents well informed.

Project advancement in recent years

Between 2011 and 2014, the Lower Valley integrated the Anglo-French LiCCo (Living with a Changing Coast – Littoraux et changements côtiers) programme conducted with the Environment Agency, with the aim of uniting the coastal communities on a journey towards understanding, preparing and adapting to the impact of climate change. 

The overall priorities of the project were defined between 2014 and 2016.

In September 2016, the Coastline Conservation Society approved the overall short-, medium- and long-term project trajectory and the main intervention principles to be implemented in the following years:

  • Developing a water system to reconnect the Saâne river to the sea;
  • Relocating the bungalows at Quiberville-sur-Mer campsite and Sainte-Marguerite-sur-Mer;
  • The overall repurposing and tourism development of the site;
  • Redeveloping the area by restoring its wetland area features.

From 2016 to 2018, the Coastline Conservation Society and the project owners sought to secure funding from French sources (the State, the Normandy Region and Seine Maritime Department) and EU sources.  

The Steering Committee formalised the transfer of the Quiberville-sur-Mer campsite on 18 December 2018, which was a significant element within the Saâne Territorial Project.

During the Steering Committee’s meeting on 11 September 2019, the Territory resubmitted its candidacy for EU funding as a result of having set up an Anglo-French European Territorial Co-operation (ETC – Interreg) Project titled “PACCo” (Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts – Promouvoir l’Adaptation aux Changements Côtiers) with the Environment Agency and the Otter Valley site (Devon). A successful bid would result in EU funding of 69%.

The investment and management aspects relating to the PACCo project involved two major operations:

  • Relocation of the new tourism facilities of Quiberville-sur-Mer (communal project management) €6.9 M;
  • Funding the Longueil wastewater system and water treatment works to the value of €4 M (project managed by the Community of the Terroir de Caux Communes).

The EU’s involvement in 2020

In early February 2020, the French (Channel) – English Interreg Programming Committee formalised the European Union’s involvement through the approval of the PACCo Project (despite Brexit).

The PACCo European Territorial Co-operation includes a UK lead entity – the Environment Agency – and a co-ordinating body in France – the Coastline Conservation Society (Normandy Representative). This exceptional financial support will enable the Saâne Territorial Project to be implemented (see Saâne letter of February 2020).

The works funded under the PACCo project, the Quiberville-sur-Mer tourist facilities and Longueil wastewater system and water treatment works must be completed by March 2023.

The Territory is furthermore in receipt of other funding resources such as the Seine-Normandy Water Board’s Territorial Water and Climate Contract (Contrat Territorial Eau & Climat) and the Normandy Region and Seine Maritime Department’s Territorial Contract (Contrat de Territoire). This funding will collectively enable the Saâne Territorial Project to be implemented in full, the construction of which will continue until 2025.

Going forward, the Saâne Territorial Project will be one of the most ambitious projects for adapting to climate change and spatial reassignment of a coastal area in France.

Spin-off from the PACCo Model on different scales:

The awarding of significant European funding establishes the Saâne Territorial Project as a reference with regard to adapting to climate change and resilience.

Within a few years, the territory will be transformed from one vulnerable to threats to a resilient land that has found a way to retain its economic assets whilst reducing exposure to risk and promoting coastal biodiversity.

This vast spatial redesign project has already involved significant time and efforts from its local stakeholders. However, the EU’s involvement through the PACCo scheme will enable a scope of implementation that could not have been achieved based on Anglo-French funding alone.

The objectives of a number of EU Directives will be achieved as a result of the Saâne Territorial Project, such as those relating to threats, the Water Framework Directive (directive cadre sur l’Eau – DCE), the transitional waters at the Channel level, bathing waters and so on.

The Coastline Conservation Society and the Seine-Normandy Water Board – project manager and funding source respectively – have, together with the Normandy Region, undertaken to communicate widely about this project.

The PACCo Project will be the focus of a wide-ranging communication strategy for 2022 and 2023:

  • In the Seine Maritime Department, to raise awareness of situations where coastal rivers do not naturally flow into the sea (contrary to the mandatory regulations);
  • In Normandy, with the dissemination of this experiment among territories engaged in the “Notre Littoral pour Demain” (“Our Coast for Tomorrow”) scheme, in order to demonstrate that adapting to climate change is possible;
  • Regarding the Channel, the Coastline Conservation Society will invite the regions neighbouring Hauts-de-France and Brittany to visit the site (and the UK) to learn about and draw inspiration from the scheme. Communications will be initiated through the Life Adapto Project (see;
  • At the national level, the Coastline Conservation Society, together with the Ministry of Ecological Transition, ANEL (National Association of the Elected Coastline [Representatives] – Association Nationale des Élus du Littoral) and other partners will ensure that this project is publicised effectively;
  • Regarding the Channel, communications with UK counterparts in the context of the PACCo Project bilateral exchanges.
  • At the European and international levels, the European and International Representation of the Coastline Conservation Society will present the project so that other coastal territories can draw inspiration from it.

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