Anchorage areas: a change in the regulations under consideration

Mooring area and light equipment - ZMEL

The legislation on organised recreational craft mooring areas (ZMELs) should evolve. Allocation procedure, coastal development issues, opening up to private operators... Xavier Nicolas, director of the Maritime Affairs pleasure craft mission, tells us more about the draft decree under consideration.

Revision of the 1991 decree on the management of ZMELs

The anchorage and light equipment zones or ZMEL, which include dead bodies for the reception of pleasure boats, are now governed by a 1991 decree. Faced with the evolution of boating and the regulatory context, the administration is working on a new text to regulate these uses. After a public consultation closed in July 2019, the authorities are working on the final text to be presented to the Council of State. The objective is promulgation during the winter of 2020.

Adapt anchorage regulations to new needs

" The decree was issued in 1991, almost 30 years ago. It needed to be reviewed because boating has evolved. " explains Xavier Nicolas, in charge of the Maritime Affairs Piacenza Mission " We conducted an audit with the managers of the ZMELs in 2017-2018. We have had very constructive responses from all the coastal facades. Some obstacles emerged that sometimes discouraged municipalities from making ZMELs. It is almost easier to make requests to the State for direct management. A consensus emerged to review a few points. "

Encourage ZMELs as an alternative to ports

The authorities wish to develop the ZMELs. " It is a credible alternative to heavy infrastructure and some marinas. This is in response to the seasonal nature of boating, with limited investments. "confirms Xavier Nicolas.

The approach has an economic, but also an environmental, interest. To this end, the draft decree reaffirms more clearly the obligation of reversibility of the project. The concession holder must be able to restore the natural site after the end of operation. " We have also integrated landscape issues. "adds Xavier Nicolas.

Open to private managers

Probably the most controversial aspect is the opening of the management of ZMELs to private actors, until now reserved for competent public authorities. " The objective is to favour technical competence, which is sometimes present in the neighbouring marina, while not all municipalities are always strong enough to do so. Nevertheless, communities still retain a priority right. "tempers Xavier Nicolas.

Specify the award procedure

The administrative environment has changed since 1991. The new decree specifies the procedure for studying ZMEL's files, integrating institutions that did not exist at the time. " The maritime prefect is consulted first because he has the global vision. Then, the institutions are consulted according to the project. The important thing for the manager is to know what sauce he will be instructed in. "explains the Maritime Affairs representative.

To adapt to local contexts, the ZMELs will be subject to contractualization. " The idea is to move from a prescriptive to a contractual relationship. This will allow the contract to specify the percentage of places for passing boats or, as suggested in the text, the obligation for the owner of the boat to have civil liability insurance. "concludes Xavier Nicolas.

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