The green fund is already successful, not the safety net
Frédéric Fortin / MCM Press for Localtis
In 5 working days, 1,800 communities have already applied for a grant under the green fund, says the Minister for Ecological Transition. A success that contrasts with that achieved by the “safety net”, which only 4,100 communities would have requested.
1800. This would be the number of “green fund” practices already presented by local authorities on the dedicated website, while the appropriate forms were only put online on 27 January. This was indicated by the Minister for Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, this Wednesday during the session of questions to the government in the Senate, and confirmed this February 2 in the National Assembly, on the occasion of the first meetings of the delegation to local authorities and decentralization of the lower house , which questioned how to accelerate community investment in the ecological transition (our article in an upcoming edition). The minister was naturally pleased with this success, “proof of the will of local authorities, which I believe no one has questioned, to take the ecological transition into their own hands and implement it in a concrete, tangible way”. At this rate, the 2 billion euros planned for this fund for 2023 – which we still don’t know if it will have to be renewed – will be used up quickly. “The green fund is missing a zero”, so launched the deputy Jean-Claude Raux (Loire-Atlantique, Nupes) during today’s exchanges. It should be remembered that the Banque des Territoires has decided for its part to mobilize 1.2 billion euros (including 1 billion in loans and 180 million in engineering loans) over 5 years to “amplify the impact” of this fund, keeping in particular, “the specificities of the coastal, mountain and city territories” are taken into account (see our article of 22 November).
Renovation of buildings and public lighting in mind
The Minister specified that on 1um February, almost 800 practices presented relating to the thermal rehabilitation of buildings and almost 350 to the renovation of public lighting. But all lines [14 au total, voir notre article du 19 janvier dernier]from the coast, the mountain through renaturation are the subject, at this stage, of openings and requests”, he adds. Christophe Béchu explains the success of this system in particular by the fact that it does not emerge from the logic of project requests or expressions of interest and which leaves ample freedom to local authorities – which he had particularly promoted to the Prime Minister (see our article of 14 September 2022).
Furthermore, while, during the delegation meetings, she was again complained on several occasions (see our article of 21 July 2022) about the absence of funding connected to the recovery and ecological transition contracts (CRTE), she underlined the need of “cross CRTE and green funds”. For her part, Agnès Reiner, deputy director general of the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion, highlighted the central role of the prefect in the allocation of endowments for this “entirely decentralized” green fund, underlining that the departmental prefect was also the territorial delegate of the ‘agency.
An overlooked safety net
Instead, the Minister informed the Assembly of the “low number of municipalities – 4,100 – that have asked to benefit from the safety net”. A result that seemed partly anticipated by the government: last October, Caroline Cayeux, then minister delegated to the communities, had “encouraged the elected officials to make use of this help” (see our article of 25 October), implemented with a decree of the October 13 (see our October 14 article). However, on November 17, the Ministry of the Economy welcomed the number of installments validated: 2,121. This is less than a fifth of the 11,000 communities identified as beneficiaries. The future will tell us how the “Energy Saving”, introduced by the Finance Law for 2023, will be received (see our article of 4 January).