In 2010, spending on protecting the environment totalled €45.67 billion (+ 3.1% compared with 2009) and spending on the management of resources stood at €18.71 billion (+ 10.9%), making a total of €64.39 billion for overall environment related expenditure in France*. Two items of expenditure fell: the management of waste water (- 0.6%) and, more sharply, noise (- 3%). Investment in protection (i.e. capital spending) continued to fall back (- 1.5%). Finally, it continued to be companies that bore the greatest share of total spending (36.4%), followed by the public authorities (35.8%) and households (23.3%).
With regards to the protection of the environment, far and away the heaviest item of expenditure continued to be waste (15 billion, + 6.2%), followed by waste water (12.7 billion, – 0.6%), R&D (4.6 billion, + 2%), general administration (3.7 billion, + 6.7%), air (3.2 billion, + 4.8%), noise (2 billion, – 3%), biodiversity & countryside (1.9 billion, + 5%), soil / aquifers and surface water (1.6 billion, + 1%) and radioactive waste (€729 million, + 6%). Whilst it still accounted for 60.7% of the total, the share of the spend on the management of waste water and waste has continued to fall since the early years of the new millennium in favour of R&D spend, protection of air quality and general administration.
When it came to the management of resources, the collection and distribution of water increased slightly (+ 2%), reaching 13 billion, whilst recovery / recycling rose considerably (+ 39%) to 5.6 billion, after a steep fall in 2009 (- 26%). Item by item details are provided on the following page.
Eco-activity output stood at close to €70 billion (+ 8.5%), which was due in particular to strong output by recovery activities. Finally, with 452,600 full time equivalents, environment employment moved ahead by 4.5% in 2010. Note that the estimates for 2011 are not as good.
Share of spend borne by major stakeholder categories
36.4% (16.6 billion) of spending on protecting the environment was financed by companies (particularly the management of waste and waste water and soil protection), 35.8% (16.3 billion) comes from the public authorities (especially biodiversity, R&D,…) and 27.3% (12.5 billion) was paid for by households (combatting noise, managing waste water and waste, publicly aided purchase of products adapted to improve air quality). The remainder (0.5%) was largely covered by European institutions.
NB: The Commission des Comptes acknowledges that there is a difficulty in classifying ‘renewables’ spending, which relates both to the protection of the environment (air & climate) and the management of natural resources (fossil fuels). In 2010, this spending reached almost €21 billion, 18.7% up on 2009. Overall, spending on photovoltaic solar grew but fell on heat pumps.
Another ‘unique’ item, the spending on managing green spaces by local authorities and their groupings, was estimated at €3.4 billion, up 6.2% on 2009.
* in The economy of the environment in 2010 – Report of the Commission des Comptes et de l’Economie de l’Environnement, 2012 Edition, CGDD, SOES, July2012.
The changes in detail, item by item
• Spending on protecting the environment
Two items of spending down: waste water and noise. The fall in the spending on managing waste water (- 0.6%) was due to the fall in investment in the field of mains drainage and, to a lesser extent, a drop in spending on the treatment of industrial waste water. On the other hand, spending on non-mains drainage rose by 15%.
The drop in spending on combatting noise was largely the consequence of spending on sound insulation for new dwellings, investment in tools to fight industrial noise and the replacement of silencers on vehicles.
• More or less sustained rises for the other items
The 6.2% increase in spending on waste management was largely due to improvements in the service in terms of the expansion of sorted collection and the use of more complex and more expensive processing methods.
Spending on protecting biodiversity and the countryside enjoyed a significant rise (+ 5%), probably as a result of the International Biodiversity Year and the boost required for protecting aquatic habitats and reducing pressure by farmers and manufacturers (cf. Rio Convention and European plan), the reworking stemming from the national strategy (SNB 2011-2020) and the creation of ‘green and blue networks’ designed to secure territorial continuity.
After a steep fall in 2009 (-9.5%), spending on the protection of soils, aquifers and surface water displayed a slight overall recovery (+ 1%). This was primarily linked to the recovery in spending on soil remediation, spending in the fight against erosion remained largely stable, whilst that on preventing the infiltration of pollutants dropped slightly (cf. reduction of transfers to farmers in particular), as did that associated with surveillance, measurement and monitoring.
Spending on protecting air quality (+ 4.8%) rose at a lower rate, with most companies having achieved compliance with the regulations covering the relevant installations. Investment saw a significant fall (- 17.7%). Nevertheless, there was a steep rise in spending on adapted products such as agri-fuels, LPG, low sulphur fuel and condenser boilers.
A smaller item of environmental protection expenditure, the management of radioactive waste (€729 million in 2010), saw a slight overall fall in spending on the environment and a significant fall in investment (- 15.1%).
• Spending on resource management
In the field of resource management, the spend on the collection and distribution of water rose slightly (+ 2%) to €13 billion. This should not, however, conceal the downward trend in the volumes of water collected and consumed. Finally, recovery / recycling recorded a steep rise (+ 39%, v – 26% in 2009), primarily as a result of volatility in the prices of secondary raw materials and waste. No fewer than 41 million tonnes of secondary raw materials were produced in 2010.