Working with Nature Project database

General information

Name of navigation or waterborne transport infrastructure project EMERHODE project (Efficient, Multimodal, Economy, Hydraulic, Opportunity of Development for Seine Estuary)
Project location (nearest town or city)Port of Le Havre
Key project objectivesThe project has 3 key objectives : - to improve road and railway traffic fluidity in the industrial zone : a new canal will create a extra and shorter way for barges to go in and out of the port of Le Havre, and will avoid the numerous manoeuvres of the 5 mobile bridges on the existing canal. - to increase the surface of the port industrial zone, up to the northern bank of the new canal - to improve the management of the existing nature Reserve, on the southern bank of the new canal.
Contact PersonPaul Scherrer and Jean-Pierre Guellec
Contact Phone33.
PositionDirector of Technical and Projects Division and Deputy Director of same Division + Project Manager of EMERHODE
OrganisationPort of le Havre Authority

Candidate Project data

Characteristics of environment
Inland waterway
Protected areas
Key project dates
Project is not in the planning phase. Date project planning started2007
Project does not have consents/approvals. Date of approval
Project construction not yet started. Construction start dateforeseen 2014
Date project will be completedforeseen 2017/2020
Type of project
New construction or development
Beneficial use of dredged material
OtherNature development in a Nature Reserve
Brief description
The project consists of four main parts : - construction of a new canal approximately 4 km long and 120 m wide, with vertical berths, - extension of the industrial zone (400 ha maximum), backfilled with the dredged material, - restoring of the existing roads and railway tracks, with a new layout not crossing the nature reserve, using 2 mobile bridges high above the new canal - environmental measures as hydraulic feeder (to maintain the water table level), maybe extension of the intertidal zone in the estuary, mitigation measures.
Indicative size
More than 10 million US$

Working with Nature philosophy

Are steps being taken to understand the environment before any work starts on the development of the design of the project?
At the end of 2006, we started 1 year environmental inventories (fauna and flora) consistent with the methods of the neighbour nature reserve. A global Bio-Evaluation of the whole study zone was then implemented. A complete 3D mathematical model (13 by 4 km) of hydraulic functioning of the whole study zone (much larger than area of project itself) was implemented in order to determine the impact of the new canal on the water table level of the wet lands.
Are stakeholders or potential partners being involved from the very beginning in the initial process of identifying potential options or solutions and agreeing on a preferred option (i.e. instead of being consulted on already defined options)?
The association in charge of the management of the nature reserve (called “Maison de l’Estuaire”) has been involved since the beginning : the initial program of studies and the methods for inventories were determined together. Maison de l’Estuaire, farmers, hunters, fishermen, french administration and environment associations have also been informed of the results of the different studies since 2007. This consultation is going on during all technical and environmental studies
Are efforts being made to identify a solution which will provide a clear ‘win-win’?
3 solutions are still in competition in this project : Port of Le Havre Authority will choose one later, necessarily 'win-win'. Different possibilities of win-win were identified after the official public debate in 2009-2010: - addition of an hydraulic feeder canal adjacent to the new canal to maintain or enhance the water table level, - exchange of land to enhance efficiency of Nature Reserve, - vertical berths for the new canal, to improve ship guidance and reduce project footprint
Will the project be designed to work with and make use of natural processes (e.g. ‘letting nature do the work’)?
Will the project include benefits for nature or other environmental enhancements beyond what is legally required?
The project is not advanced enough to confirm that...but quite surely it will as it was allready for Port 2000 new Container Terminal realised in the beginning of years 2000's with at the same time a program of enhancement of river Seine Estuary.
Is the project following, in order, the steps described in the Working with Nature Position Paper?
Mainly, we did it that way especially before the Public Debate with all stakeholders organized by French state on the Project from oct 2009 to february 2010. Since that steps are not exactly sequential but sometimes parallel. First difficulty so far : it takes quite a lot of time. No real reducing of lead time but certainly reducing uncertainties
Reasons/motivation for taking this approach
We are convinced that in an estuary, it is no longer possible to prepare any project in favour of navigation if the project is not also at the same time in favour of nature. Looking for sustainable development obliges us to find environmental benefits as well as social and economic interests.
Cost implications
Costs are not expected to be lower than the conventional approach to this type of project (i.e. no cost savings are expected)
No additional funds will be provided from third parties
Extra costs compared to conventional approach
Costs are expected to be marginally or significantly higher than a conventional approach to this type of projectThis is an answer mostly for the study phases. For the whole project, it is not advanced enough to fully answer that type of question...
Did existing legislation help or hinder your application of the Working with Nature philosophy?
The approach adopted did not help to meet legal obligations
Some of what was done was needed to meet existing legal requirements; part exceeded those requirementsEspecially we organized much more stakeholders involvement to find win-win solutions.
Problems were experienced with existing legislation (e.g. is existing legislation too prescriptive/inflexible)For the moment, problems were experienced with existing legislation (for example, existing legislation appears to be too prescriptive or inflexible regarding the possibilities of exchange of land concerning a Nature Reserve)
The approach was not taken despite legal requirements
Legal requirements did not prevent the Working with Nature philosophy being applied
Further information
Link to public debate website where at least preliminary studies can be found : Link to Port of Le Havre website page dedicated to the project :,808294&_dad=portal&_schema=portal Key contact person : Project manager : Jean-Pierre GUELLEC, deputy director for projects, Technical and Projects Division, phone : +33(0)