Usually far from the spotlight, the small village of Cahaignes, delegated municipality of Vexin-sur-Epte (Eure), has lost its tranquility.
The reason ?
The launch of a public inquiry on May 30 concerning the creation of an open-air clay quarry on its territory, carried by the Terreal group, a specialist in clay tiles and bricks.
The discovery of this XXL project by the inhabitants caused a shock wave for most of them.
“Some had heard of it, but without any certainty.
Now it has become concrete.
And above all, by consulting the file on the prefecture's website, we were able to see the extent of the disaster if this career were to see the light of day," says Alain Riou, one of the members of a collective formed urgently to carry the voice of local residents and organize the counter-offensive.
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"Imagine a hole 29 meters deep on an area of 23 hectares of agricultural land, less than 50 meters from the first dwellings and 150 meters from the heart of the village", sums up the pensioner for whom this prospect sounds the death knell of tranquility. in this little corner of nature hitherto preserved.
Noise, dust, vibrations, trucks... To this list of nuisances linked to the operation of such a site, from which should come out between 40,000 and 60,000 tonnes of clay each year for at least three decades, is added according to him the environmental impact.
"We are going to destroy more than 1,000 m2 of humic areas and nearly 5,000 m2 of woods, while our territory has two natural areas of ecological, faunal and floristic interest", warns Alain Riou.
However, on the side of the various state services, all the signals are green to authorize the launch of the activity.
This public inquiry, extended at least until July 7, is in fact the final step before the decision of the prefect which should take place in the coming weeks.
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"We hope that our mobilization will be heard and our arguments retained", underlines the representative of the collective who recalls in passing that the petition launched online on June 17 has already collected close to 600 signatures... for a village which has only one just over 300 inhabitants.
Thomas Durand, the mayor of Vexin-sur-Epte, is reasonably optimistic.
“If a public inquiry procedure exists, it is precisely to take into account the opinion of the first concerned”, wants to believe the elected official who does not wish to skip the stages and has already received the support of other mayors in the sector. .
The municipal council, which meets this Wednesday, June 29, must also submit an opinion – only advisory – to the investigating commissioner.
“As it stands, the Terreal project is unacceptable.
It is far too impactful for a small rural town like ours.
Our opinion will therefore be negative, ”announced the mayor.
And even if he assures that he understands the economic stakes linked to this file, he nevertheless wishes to emphasize that “for our municipality, there will be no benefit to be drawn from this plan.
We will only have the constraints…”