A magnificent demonstration against air pollution took place in Chamonix on 8 February 2014. At least 1300 people marched on the dual carriageway between Les Bossons and Chamonix, blocking access to the highly symbolic Mont-Blanc tunnel for 2 hours. This demonstration did not go unnoticed and will, no doubt, add weight to the negotiations currently taking place in Paris to decide whether the goods transport measures of the Plan of Protection of the Atmosphere can finally start being will be implemented. Measures are already in place to reduce emissions from the residential sector, but strong opposition remains regarding the implementation of measures to the goods transport sector.
The combination of the strong turn-out of Saturday, the work of the elected officials of the Chamonix valley and local MP, as well as the warning letter from local doctors, should get noticed at the highest of level. Will public health outweigh the strength of the transport lobbies? Answer in a few weeks...
Message from Eric Fournier, Mayor of Chamonix, on return from the Elysée Palace
I was received today at the Elysee Palace by the transport advisor to the President of the Republic, along with Sophie Dion, MP:
I was able to reaffirm the urgency of measures needed to improve air quality in the Arve valley, for all pollution generating sectors: housing, transport and industry.
Commenting on the actions already taken under the PPA, the Advisor to the President wanted an overall assessment of their effectiveness and stated that he was in favour of a "fair burden" (?) on all the sources of emissions, without commenting on any deadlines for the implementation of this. Suffice to say that the battle is not yet over...
It is now necessary to maintain communication with the relevant ministers, in particular the Minister of Transport, so decisions can be made quickly. Local communities in the valley need to keep their own houses in order by investing heavily in the development of public transport (bus and train); it is up to the State to give a strong and rapid signal regarding its transport policy, given the intolerable health status of the Arve valley. And so we continue!
The event was organized by a citizen of Chamonix, Stéphane Sclavo, saddened by an intolerable situation and outraged to see the symbol that is Mont-Blanc spoiled by such pollution. Environn'MontBlanc, its Inspire campaign and ARSMB (Association for Respect of the Site of Mont Blanc) strongly supported this citizens' initiative and called for support at the February 8 event.
A huge thank you to Stéphane and to all participants in this magnificent demo!