Prefect of Seine-et-Marne v. Mayor of Savigny-le-Temple

April 14, 2021
Final judgment
France, Melun

Prefect of Seine-et-Marne
Hugo-Lepage law firm

Cancel the municipal decree requiring all pesticide users in the municipality to eliminate waste resulting from their use, and restricting authorization to use these pesticides to users who can guarantee that no residues will be spread outside the treated plot, or at least to manage and eliminate dispersion.
Administrative Court of Melun, France

July 13, 2023
The municipal decree is cancelled.
No description

On July 13 2023, the Administrative Tribunal of Melun overturned the municipal decree issued by the mayor of Savigny-le-Temple on March 1 2021, requiring all pesticide users in the municipality to eliminate waste resulting from the use of these products, and restricting the authorization to use pesticides to users capable of ensuring that no residues will be dispersed beyond the treated plot, or that any dispersal will be managed.

The Administrative Tribunal of Melun partially answers to the merits argued by the prefecture which were, on one hand, the lack of jurisdiction of the mayor and, on the other hand, the impossibility of classifying pesticide residues drifting beyond treated plots as waste under Article L.541-1-1 of the Environmental Code.

The judge noted that articles L. 253-1, L. 253-7, L. 253-7-1, L. 253-8 and R. 253-1 of the French Rural and Maritime Fishing Code conferred special powers to police plant protection products on the State authorities, and not on the mayor. The Court thus delimits the competence of the municipal authority with regard to the special police power over waste that it holds by virtue of articles L-541-1 et seq. of the Environment Code.

Indeed, by requiring pesticide users to eliminate all residue resulting from pesticide spraying, and by limiting authorization to use these products to those likely to actually comply with this obligation, the mayor redefined the "general conditions for the use of these products, which are the sole responsibility of the State authorities", therefore exceeding the scope of his special police powers for waste management.

This decision follows on from the Conseil d'Etat's ruling of October 21, 2021. Like this previous ruling, the Administrative Court of Melun remained silent on the potential classification of residues from pesticide spraying as waste.