LFor a long time, Mordelles – then the first parish towards the west – was one of the granaries of Rennes, supplying the Breton capital and its Lices market with various foodstuffs. Testimony of this glorious past, the small town with almost a thousand years of history (its first mention dates back to the year 1032) has left its name to two well-known sites in Rennes: the “Portes mordelaises”, which have protected the fortified city for centuries, and the Mordelles stand at Roazhon Park, where the most fervent supporters of Stade Rennes meet every weekend.
But if Mordelles is still talked about today, it is now for its innovative political decisions on the scale of the territory of Rennes Métropole. The latest dates back to September 12, when the city council voted not to renew the contract linking the city to the advertiser JCDecaux.
“Transition is our credo”
The contract signed by the former city councilor nine years ago will expire on October 31. The opportunity was therefore good for the mayor (without label) Thierry Le Bihan and his team, renewed for a second term in 2020, to put an end to it, in the name of a certain coherence. “We have chosen to focus our mandate on the idea of transition, whether social, economic or ecological. This is our credo, explains Hervé Pralong, Deputy Delegate for Communication and Citizenship. We have Musé’O, an outdoor museum on the reconquest of the aquatic environment and the protection of water, and, in the middle, we found, for example, advertisements for detergents, which are not the most eco-responsible products…”
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No more messages of overconsumption and the visual pollution that results from the presence of the luminous panel and the fifteen lollipop panels spread over the territory of the municipality of some 7,400 inhabitants. As soon as the contract expires, they will be dismantled. “In all, out of the thirty sides, nine spaces – which are not the best-selling ones – are made available to the town hall. For the others, on which we have no right of inspection, it is the management of JCDecaux which decides what appears above, summarizes Hervé Pralong. However, on these panels, it is the advertisements of large groups or supermarkets that are put forward – because they are the ones who have the money – and not those of our local artisans… ”
Place for communal communication
At the beginning of 2023, this display should give way to five new wooden panels for the sole service of the town hall. “We are moving from advertising communication to municipal communication. A “virtuous” digital panel, which will therefore be financed by the City, should complete the set. The deputy mayor explains: “We are going back to the pixel, to simply send messages. It will be self-powered and will shut off at night, like public lighting. »
Because Mordelles has already made progress on the issue of light pollution. Since January 2021, the municipality has effectively limited public lighting: lights are now extinguished seven days a week, from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. Even better, the streetlights remain off throughout the summer. In addition to significant energy savings, this measure reduces the nuisance for the fauna and flora of the town still largely covered with agricultural plots. “We were precursors and now, in mainland France, it is becoming a standard,” says Hervé Pralong with satisfaction.
“Discussion and common sense”
If it shows some successes in the fight against visual pollution, the town hall would still like to act on other levers that are outside its field of action. It thus makes sure to raise the awareness of traders, who sometimes let their sign shine at all hours of the day and night. And, according to the one who is also an automotive engineer, the dialogue seems to be bearing fruit. “If, as a municipality, you have already put things in place, that you are a model, it is easier to go and discuss with the traders, he says. It’s really discussion and common sense. »
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While walking in front of the town hall, Hervé Pralong also raises the issue of the Star bus shelters, the Rennes urban area public transport service. Adorned with advertising messages, these gatehouses are managed by Rennes Métropole, which on June 30 adopted new local intermunicipal advertising regulations (RLPi), the aim of which is – according to the press release – to “reduce visual pollution and the impacts on the environment” on the 43 municipalities of the Metropolis.
“The mayor, Thierry Le Bihan, wrote to Nathalie Appéré [la maire de Rennes et présidente de Rennes Métropole] to ask him to look into the issue of bus shelters, announces Hervé Pralong. This is a complicated question, since it is advertising that allows them to amortize their cost. If we deprive ourselves of it, we would therefore have to find an alternative to be able to shelter people…” A thorny question which undoubtedly does not leave Rennes Métropole indifferent, since the latter has, for example, chosen to ban all advertising displays on the new line B of the local metro, inaugurated on September 20.