Where are 1,300 Seveso sites in France, and what are risks located?

The Seveso directive classifies dangerous industrial establishments in two thresholds, high and low, depending on the quantity of dangerous material.


An explosion took place on Wednesday August 3 in a Bergerac (Dordogne), classified “high threshold” powder, wounding eight people, including one seriously. What is this classification?

What does the Seveso classification corresponds to?

After a serious leak in an Italian chemical factory close to the city of Seveso in 1976, which had caused major ecological and health pollution, a series of European directives have been adopted to identify industrial sites that present risks and for Ensure better prevention.

In France, there are around 500,000 industrial or agricultural facilities that can present risks for the environment (pollution, nuisances), safety or health, 50,000 of which are subject to an authorization or registration plan . But only the most dangerous establishments are classified seveso.

The latest version, seveso 3 , In force in France in 2015. According to data from Ministry of the Environment , France had 1,301 SEVESO establishments at the end of 2020, classified into two types: 692″ high threshold “installations and 609” low threshold “, in function of the quantity of dangerous materials present. It can be refineries, chemical factories, petroleum deposits or explosive deposits.

Where are Seveso establishments in France?

The geographic distribution of these installations results from two centuries of industrial development linked to the large settlement zones: the Paris Basin and the Seine Cours to Rouen, the Lille agglomeration, Lyon and the Rhône valley, as that the region of Marseille and the pond of Berre.

According to data dating back to 2019, around 2.5 million people live less than a kilometer from a SEVESO classified installation (including 1.1 million for “high threshold” sites) and 663,500 unless you 500 meters (277,000 for “high threshold” sites).

What is the frequency of accidents linked to Seveso sites?

The explosion of the AZF factory in Toulouse on September 21, 2001, which had caused the death of 31 people, as well as more than 2,500 injured, is the most serious accident in France. More recently, in 2019, an explosion occurred at the Lubrizol factory in Rouen. In total, there are seven major accidents (which have reached level 6 of gravity) since 2000.

According to L ‘Inventory of the Ministry of Ecological Transition on Technological Incidents and Accidents, accidentology was down in 2020 – year marked by two confinements and activity restrictions – with 74 accidents in SEVESO facilities, Against 79 in 2019 and 106 in 2018. Most incidents have limited human, environmental or economic consequences (classified 0 or 1 in the table below).

/Media reports.