Are there any rules for having a garden pond in France?

Sarah Bright-Thomas of Bright Avocats answers a reader query

You can use nature to help keep your pond healthy

Reader Question: I am interested in buying a property that has a large pond. I am finding it difficult to understand the rules about maintaining it. If something needs to be done, is it advisory or does someone come and check?

As the pond is already in place, it is unlikely that there are any specific rules and regulations relating to it, and you are free to do with it what you like.

Of course if you have small children, or they often visit, do not let them near the pond without supervision to avoid any potential accident.

Modern ponds may be built with plastic liners (older ones are often beaten clay), which means the water is stagnant, and you will need to help nature bring some life to the pond with water plants, or a feature such as a fountain to oxygenate the water.

Fish help to keep mosquito numbers down, but may also eat other wildlife with a water life stage, such as dragonflies.

Making sure there is at least one ‘ladder’ helps small creatures use the pond to drink, and having shrubs nearby, and a dry stone in the middle, encourages birds to bathe.

For new ponds, the general rule is that if its surface area is aover 10m2 you have to make 

a déclaration préalable de travaux at the mairie. 

Your taxe foncière bill is likely to increase.

Read more: New shed, veranda, pool: how to declare in France and what time frame

Bear in mind that local rules might apply.