Normandy

BRGM has offices in every region of mainland France and in the French Overseas Territories, in order to meet the needs of its regional partners and help them deal with specific local challenges. Presentation of the activities carried out by BRGM's Regional Division in Normandy.
Geological map of Normandy

Geological map of Normandy.

© BRGM

BRGM Normandy employs a staff of 9 engineers and technicians at its regional head office in Rouen. It regularly draws on the support of a dozen engineers in Orléans who work on projects in Normandy.

A maritime gateway to Europe

With three major urban centres, Caen, Le Havre and Rouen, Normandy is made up of five départements (Seine-Maritime, Eure, Calvados, Orne, Manche) and has 3.3 million inhabitants. The region has 640 km of coastline and eight commercial ports. With a strong maritime tradition, supporting the region's well-established industrial and business sectors (as well as those of neighbouring regions, particularly Ile-de-France), Normandy has also managed to take full advantage of its rural assets to develop several dynamic sectors, such as tourism, food processing and equestrian sports.

The spatial-planning and economic objectives of the region, which has a long-standing industrial tradition, have been set out in the "Regional Master Plan for Economic Development, Innovation and Internationalisation" (SRDEII) and the "Regional Master Plan for Spatial Planning, Sustainable Development and Territorial Equality" (SRADDET), to which BRGM contributes its specialised expertise.

Public and private partners

BRGM has extensive experience of both public and private partnerships. It works on projects to help shape public policy, or for public and private research in response to industrial requirements, as well as training projects aimed at every level of spatial planning and decision-making in the region: Prefectures, DREAL, DDT(M), ARS, DRAAF, Seine-Normandy Water Agency, local authorities (Region, Départements, Cities, conurbations and towns, EPCI, rural municipalities, etc.), Water management syndicates for catchment basins and rivers, SAGE, Regional Parks, ADEME, Eau de Paris, Universities, Public Research Facilities, Associations (caving, fishing).

BRGM also works with private companies of all sizes to develop methodologies for Research, Development and Innovation aimed at supporting their various fields of activity.

Practical information

At the Nez de Jobourg, Manche

Groundwater and surface water

The region's drinking water supply faces various threats, linked to the area's heavy industrial past, a dynamic agricultural sector and the fragile nature of the subsurface and vulnerability of the water resources.

The challenges

The region's drinking water supply faces various threats, linked to the area's heavy industrial past (resulting in metallic and organic pollution), a dynamic agricultural sector (source of diffuse pollution: nitrates, pesticides) and the fragile nature of the subsurface and vulnerability of the water resources.

Swallow-hole that opened in Ajou in 2012, drying up a 12 km stretch of the Risle river

Swallow-hole that opened in Ajou in 2012, drying up a 12 km stretch of the Risle river.

© BRGM

BRGM's involvement and responses

BRGM has contractual agreements with the major local authorities (Métropole Rouen-Normandie, Le Havre Conurbation, Caen-la-Mer, etc.), local authority groups (Caux-vallée-de-Seine), water management syndicates (Orne Departmental Water Syndicate, Public-Private Syndicate for the Cailly-Aubette-Robec Water Management Plan (SAGE), Public-Private Syndicate for the Commerce river valley (SAGE), etc.), and the Water Agency to carry out surveys of water resources and to set up tools for managing and protecting these resources:

  • mathematical and numerical resource-management models
  • geographical databases
  • management policy systems
  • monitoring and early-warning networks, etc.
  • BRGM's mission is also to assess the extent and characteristics of pollution, to trace its origins, analyse its paths and propose solutions to protect the resources.

And also:

  • searching for alternative resources
  • assessing the impacts of climate change on water resources
  • assessing the vulnerability of resources
  • active water resource management
  • managing wetlands and relationships with ecosystems
  •  project management assistance, etc.
  • training professionals about urban and broader water cycles and regional specifics (swallow holes or karstic cavities, signs of potential swallow holes, etc.)
  • involvement in teaching in schools and universities
3D cliff scanning, Criel-sur-Mer

Natural hazards and coastal risks

The coastal area is highly exposed to coastal flooding, saltwater intrusion and coastal erosion. BRGM identifies and characterises chalk pits and former quarries, model landslides and assess the stability of quarries and cliffs. It also develops decision-making support tools for the purpose of spatial planning in the region.

The challenges

The coastal area has been extensively developed and is particularly vulnerable in low-lying areas. It is highly exposed to coastal flooding, saltwater intrusion and coastal erosion, potentially threatening coastal populations, infrastructures and aquifers. The risks along the 640 km of coastline are further exacerbated by the fragility of the subsurface, which is a factor behind rockfalls and cliff landslides. On a genera level, the whole of Normandy is vulnerable to collapses linked to swallow-holes (karsts), old chalk pits and quarries (in chalk-based areas), and by rockfalls that can occur on the cliffs that rise from the region's many valleys, which are often heavily urbanised. Finally, the strong interaction between surface water and groundwater can lead to flooding.

A landslip along the chalk cliffs near Dieppe

A landslip along the chalk cliffs near Dieppe.

© BRGM - Thomas Dewez

BRGM's involvement and responses

BRGM has an agreement with the French Ministry of the Environment, the DREALs and the DDTMs to identify and characterise chalk pits and former quarries, model landslides and assess the stability of quarries and cliffs (e.g. a study is in progress throughout the Eure département to identify risks, model rockfalls and their trajectories, etc.).

It also develops decision-making support tools for the purpose of spatial planning in the region.

BRGM's work focuses on:

  • finding new indirect (geophysical) techniques for detecting chalk pits
  • 3D mapping of former underground quarries
  • assessing and modelling the risks of saltwater intrusions in coastal aquifers, taking into account the impact of climate change
  • modelling the risks of coastal flooding and drawing up maps for risk prevention plans, which take the impact of climate change into account 

And also:

  • training staff from regional and decentralised government departments in natural risks, and how to identify and manage swallow holes
  • involvement in teaching in schools and universities
  • involvement in the Normandy-Picardy Coastal Monitoring Network (ROLNP)
  • management of the land-sea interface
  • solutions to help adapt to climate change
  • project management assistance
Former washhouse and drying kilns, Saint-Rémy

Polluted sites and soils: industrial wastelands

Many of BRGM's studies focus on industrial wastelands. They address a whole range of characterisation and rehabilitation issues.

The challenges

Intense industrial activity has left polluted sites and soils on industrial wastelands in a large number of valleys, particularly the Seine valley. These plots of land must now be rehabilitated to make way for various new industrial and service-sector projects, collective housing, roads, eco-neighbourhoods, etc.

Industrial wasteland in Rouen

Industrial wasteland in Rouen.

© Fotolia – brimeux

BRGM's involvement and responses

Many of BRGM's studies focus on industrial wastelands. They address a whole range of characterisation and rehabilitation issues:

  • specific studies
  • audits and consulting concerning the characterisation of different types of pollution
  • risk assessments as regards water resources and local inhabitants
  • expertise for management plans linked to real-estate transactions or for the rehabilitation of industrial wastelands
  • involvement in information days concerning new decontamination techniques and on regulatory developments.

And also:

  • the circular economy, the reuse of excavated soil
A "tentative diagram" of different geothermal heat sources

Renewable energy: wind and geothermal power

BRGM supports the development of renewable marine energies (offshore wind power) and geothermal energy.

The challenges

As France's leading region in terms of energy production, Normandy is today working to promote energy transition and aims to actively develop renewable energies, particularly offshore wind power and geothermal energy.

BRGM's experimental geothermal energy platform in Orléans

Different types of below-ground heat exchangers for geothermal heat pumps at the BRGM's experimental geothermal energy platform (Orléans, Loiret, 2009).

© BRGM

BRGM's involvement and responses

In order to support the development of renewable marine energies, BRGM is mapping the geology and structure of the seabed for the installation of offshore wind farms.

In addition, it is conducting various studies and analyses aimed at the development of geothermal energy – in particular very-low-enthalpy geothermal energy for heat pumps – through the mapping of geothermal potential and risks.

And also:

  • project management assistance
  • heat storage studies
  • co-organisation of the Regional Awareness-raising Day on "Very-Low-Enthalpy Geothermal Energy"
A cliff known as "The Confessional", Calvados

Contact us

Would you like more information? Fill in this contact form. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
* Indicates required field

Your need

Your message

Your contact details

Submit

Required field
Please tick the box to access the sending of the form.

About the personal data collected on this form

  • Purpose of the form: to enable BRGM to respond to a request for information you have made.
  • Users of the data provided: the departments in charge of communication and user of information systems reception, support and assistance, who may share the data with persons or departments concerned by your request in-house at BRGM and/or with subcontractors or service providers.

Your rights

Within the limits of the Regulation, in particular Articles 15 to 22 of the GDPR and having provided proof of identity, you have:

  • the right of information and access to your personal data,
  • the right to have your personal data rectified,
  • the right to delete or limit processing of your personal data.

To exercise these rights, please contact our data protection officer at: dpo@brgm.fr.
Any request that constitutes an abuse of current laws and regulations may be rejected.
More information on the policy for third-party personal data protection