France - Transforming a quarry into a regional nature reserve

Cement / France

Lafarge has voluntarily relinquished quarrying rights to a calcareous grassland area adjoining its La Couronne cement plant, near Angouleme, allowing the preservation of this unique local landscape, which has since been turned into a regional nature reserve.

 

Objectives

  • Preserve one of the last calcareous grasslands in the Angouleme area, a vestige of the original 19th century landscapes

Summary

A calcareous meadow near Lafarge's La Couronne cement plant in France has been turned into a regional nature reserve, making it possible to preserve an emblematic local landscape. The area, partly covered by the quarry's planning permit, had never been quarried and had therefore been left unscathed. It is one of the last calcareous grasslands in the Angouleme area, a vestige of the original 19th century landscapes in the region.

 

We first took the decision to convert an area of 16.5 ha of the grassland into a Voluntary Nature Reserve. This followed a number of ecological surveys carried out in this zone, that had identified around 20 threatened plant species and a number of rare or sensitive fauna species.

 

We entrusted management of the area to the Conservatoire Régional des Espaces Naturels (CREN). CREN implemented a number of measures to ensure the conservation of the grassland area, named the ‘Chaumes des Séverins', and both Lafarge and CREN worked to raise public awareness of this unique heritage.

 

When renewing our application for the quarry permit, we decided to withdraw the ‘Chaumes des Séverins' area from the quarry perimeter, voluntarily relinquishing 15 years of authorized quarrying.

Results

The Chaumes des Séverins area is today a regional nature reserve, helping to preserve an emblematic local landscape.

 

The site also contributes to promoting agricultural vocational training thanks to the partnership with the Oisellerie vocational school, for maintenance and pastures.

 

It helps improve communication on biodiversity and nature conservation with school children and the general public.