Respect for the environment in a highly developed region such as Île-de-France also means maintaining a balance between urban and agricultural zones. The Economic and Social Committee of the Region has recently presented a report on peri-urban Île-de-France which looked at threats to mainly agricultural zones and open spaces close to towns and urbanised areas. It is evident that these areas are becoming increasingly fragile, and there is a worrying loss of young farmers (indicated in the figures of those setting up in business, which dropped from 158 in 1990 to only 64 by 1998). Sprawling development around towns means that agricultural holdings are split up or become isolated. The report looks at the future of agricultural and open space in peri-urban areas and at priorities for action. There is an interview with Claude Boucherat the President of the Economic and Social Committee on the regional policy for containment of urban sprawl set out in the 1994 Master Plan for Île-de-France, which sought to limit the development of former agricultural land to 1700 hectares. Local mayors were prevented from allowing new development on land occupation without a local vote. But the poor image of agricultural production in Île-de-France and the abandonment of young professional farmers does put this policy at risk. However the President of the regional Chamber of Agriculture François Bouille interviewed on identity and demographics of the peri-urban areas remains optimistic.
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Last updated: 4 April, 2012