Energy efficiency of buildings
The EU climate and energy package's objective of improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 was already included in Grenelle I, which set out a series of goals for reducing the energy consumption of buildings.
Grenelle II plans to upgrade existing regulation on the matter and require managers to communicate the energy performance of new buildings.
Other EU texts that inspired the French bill on more sustainable buildings include the Directive on Energy End-use Efficiency and Energy Services and the Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings. In accordance with both, France is planning to introduce a requirement for real-estate advertisements to include details of the energy performance of the building.
The EU objective of improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 will partly rely on improved public transport, the planning and organisation of which France wants to boost by clarifying local and regional competences on the matter.
The bill also incorporates the EU's 'Eurovignette' directive on charging heavy goods vehicles for using infrastructure, which is currently under review. The French bill notes that motorway tolls for trucks could be set according to the vehicles' environmental performance.
Energy and climate
A number of measures are being planned to help France reach the EU's overall objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020.
The bill foresees the establishment of regional climate and energy scenarios, including a plan to connect regions to renewable energy grids. Companies with over 500 employees and municipalities with over 500,000 inhabitants will also be required to declare their carbon footprints.
To reach its 23% renewable energy objective by 2020, France plans to encourage renewable energy-based district heating, for example.
The bill will also allow individuals and communities to install solar panels in their buildings.
Regarding waste management, the bill incorporates the principle of extended producer responsibility, as already advocated by the EU directive on waste.
The concept involves making manufacturers of products responsible for their environmental and social impact throughout their life cycle, from production to end use and final disposal.
In line with the EU strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides, the bill highlights a French national plan entitled 'Ecophyto 2018' (EurActiv 19/12/08). The plan foresees halving the use of pesticides by 2018.
Aerial spraying of plant protection products will also be forbidden, albeit subject to derogations.
The French bill draws its inspiration for improved eco-governance from a 1985 EU Directive on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, which is yet to be fully transposed into national legislation.
The directive requires environmental impact assessments of all undertakings to identify and assess their direct and indirect effects on fauna and flora, soil, water, air, the climate and the landscape.