Planned landfill causes controversy

Fri, 01. Mar. 2019

There’s been a landfill shortage for many years in the Saanenland and Pays-d'Enhaut. Now, a new project plan to deposit excavation material in Rougemont is starting to cause considerable controversy.

At present, most trucks drive with their load of excavated material from the Saanenland and Pays-d’Enhaut up to Grandvillard near Bulle in the canton of Fribourg. A solution for a local landfill site is urgently needed, according to André Reichenbach, mayor of Rougemont.

The plan is to deposit the excavated material at the L’Ougette site outside of the village on the main road to Saanen. This location is ideal because it’s on the main road. Lorries don’t have far to drive and there’s no need to build new roads. Then, the brook would undergo conservation work and the whole area turned into a green site. The project should be completed in four to six years, with no trace remaining of the landfill site in Rougemont, according to

The Rougemont municipal council approved the project in October 2018 by a large majority. Upon this decision, a storm of indignation spread over the municipality. Opponents of the landfill project founded the organisation Les Amis de Rougemont and listed their objections, which totalled 144. However, these have all been rejected and the ball has landed in the canton of Vaud’s court. If the canton agrees, opponents could then launch a referendum.
If necessary, they intend to go as far as the Swiss federal court and have tabled various objections against the landfill. For example, they argue that the Rougemont region has more landfills than any other neighbouring region and that the environmental impact of the project hasn’t been properly assessed. They also fear that limiting the work to four to six years isn’t realistic and that it could go on for longer due to extension requests.

Reichenbach says that these objections are fuelled by panic: “Much of what people are expressing is misrepresented and exaggerated.” Max Moratti, contractor and project manager, states that plans for the excavation works would be as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible. Nevertheless, upon completion, there would still be earth, clay deposits and some stones left over. As these can’t be recycled, they’d have to go to landfill.

Both sides are ultimately pursuing the same goal, namely to preserve the landscape, nature, quality of life and appeal of the region. The question as to whether the landfill site at L’Ougette can provide for this is dividing the municipality into two camps. Those in favour see the landfill as a simple necessity that could even enhance the landscape in the long run. Opponents see it as a project with significantly negative consequences. In these circumstances, a rapprochement between the two sides looks unlikely.

Justine Hewson / AvS



In my opinion, there is only one reason Moratti is seeking a landfill close to his area of operations and that is to save his business money by his lorries making shorter journeys. The Ougette site borders the river and is the habitat of various flora and fauna. There are sufficient pressures on wild life and plants without destroying peaceful habitats in the region. You have also failed to mention that it is not merely local people objecting to this project it is also Pro Natura and I believe Cantons downstream of Rougemont. Further the proposed site borders the river Sarine and we saw last year what happens when heavy rain inundates the region when there was severe damage throughout the village and above it, caused by landslides. The Ougette site slopes down to the Sarine and inclement weather will inevitably cause slippage into the river itself which will have a knock-on effect downstream. Other than a commercial advantage for the Moratti company there is absolutely no necessity for this landfill which incidentally has been scheduled to last up to 20 years not the few years you state. The local commune's approval of a scheme which ought to have been rejected out of hand is incomprehensible.

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