Amazon will finally not install a giant warehouse near Rouen

published on Saturday March 26, 2022 at 07:35

After a several-month standoff with local associations, the e-commerce giant gives up setting up a parcel factory on the outskirts of Rouen.

The developer of the proposed site to house an Amazon warehouse sent a letter to the mayor of Petit-Couronne, near Rouen, announcing a withdrawal. indicated on March 26 the PS mayor of the small town in favor of the project.

The construction project of a “logistics building with an area of ​​160,961 m2 (…) will not finally be carried out”, The Gazeley company, which was going to rent from Amazon, wrote to the municipality, according to Petit-Couronne mayor Joël Bigot.

“A Disturbing Project”

Joël Bigot regretted this decision which he announced to the municipal council. “The loss of jobs is between 1,000 and 1,800 depending on the time of year.

The tax collection of the municipality was estimated at around 600,000 euros,” he said.

“This project upset so many people,” he admitted, though. “The various appeals against the building license or the environmental authorization have slowed down the project,” stressed the elected official.

SDIS Concerns

In October 2020, the Rouen metropolis voted against this project due to the concerns of the SDIS (departmental fire and rescue service). Firefighters feared in a report that they were facing an “operational impossibility” and believed that a large fire could produce “a volume of smoke greater than that produced during the fire of September 26, 2019” at Lubrizol’s Seveso site in Rouen.

However, the metropolis had not taken legal action. The prefect of Seine-Maritime had signed two decrees in March 2021 authorizing the project, considering that in the meantime the operator had “integrated the SDIS recommendations”.

But last February, the Norman medium Le Poulpe, broadcast by Mediapart, had stated that the decontamination of the site that Amazon was going to occupy in part raised “serious doubts about the reality of the work carried out.”

The Valgo company was in charge of the decontamination of this site where the Petroplus refinery closed in 2013. Le Poulpe said that he relied on the testimony of 30 Valgo employees and subcontractors who worked on this decontamination.

But for Joël Bigot, they are “distorted articles”, “that mix everything up”. “It is true that there was a problem of contaminated soil at the Valgo site, but I took it upon myself to receive the Dreal (Regional Environment Directorate) a while ago and everything was under control,” he said on Friday. In a press release, Stop Amazon 76 was “delighted with this local victory that echoes other construction projects abandoned by the American giant in Montbert (Loire-Atlantique) and Fournès (Gard)”.

10,000 jobs in 5 years

In 2017, “only three French regions had an Amazon warehouse on their territory. Today, none of them are spared.”add association. Cyrille Moreau, EELV vice-president of the metropolis, said he was “happy that this environmentally damaging project will not come true in Rouen”. But “the problem is far from being resolved … Amazon will be building it elsewhere,” he added.

The president of the PS of the metropolis, Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, refused to comment. Amazon said in February that it had created more than 10,000 permanent jobs in France in the past five years. but a report from the firm Progexa fears the group’s desire to “maintain only painful positions” in the long term.

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