Nombre de visiteurs : Hit Counter by Digits




livre      epaw-youtube  fed  rdp 



Échos > 2013 > The Telegraph - Offshore wind farms at Normandy 'will desecrate site’

The TelegraphJune 5, 2013
by Henry Samuel, Paris

D-Day anniversary: offshore wind farms at Normandy 'will desecrate site’

Plans for a massive armada of offshore wind farms off the beach of Normandy are in their final stages. As the anniversary of D-Day approaches, protesters explain why the building will desecrate the site.

Normandy veteran Major Edwin Hunt walks up from what was the British Sword beach at Colleville Montgomery today near Caen, France, as veterans gathered to mark the 69th anniversary of D-Day. Photo: MATT CARDY/GETTY IMAGES

For the past 69 years, the D-Day beaches in Normandy have been pilgrimage sites for millions remembering those who fought in the largest single-day amphibious assault in history on 6 June 1944.

But the view from these hallowed sands could be irrevocably altered by a plan to erect a massive armada of offshore wind farms, now reaching its final stage.

A project in the Bay of the Seine intends to plant 75 huge wind turbines half the size of the Eiffel Tower within six miles of the Normandy landing beaches.

Thousands of people from Britain, France, Canada and beyond have signed a petition against the project organised by a group called European Platform Against Windfarms.

“This would desecrate what is a marine cemetery for thousands of soldiers who came from around the world to liberate France and Europe from a tyrant,” said Jean-Louis Butré, chairman of the organisation.

“Imagine for one second if we were to ask Churchill, Eisenhower of De Gaulle about this, do you think these great leaders would have accepted such a project?,” he asked.

One unnamed Briton on the petition, whose uncle, Lt Jack Hornby, Royal Engineers, was killed aged 25 on Gold Beach on D-Day, said: “To even consider building an industrial wind farm off this coastline where he and so many others gave their lives for the liberation of Europe, would be nothing less than a disgraceful sacrilege which would bring shame on France.”

Despite the high emotions the project has ignited, the £1.5 billion project is popular in Normandy, where it is expected to create 7,000 jobs. It is part of a France’s drive to provide 23 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

To assess local and international views on the project, a series of public debates in the Normandy area have been organised in recent months, with one on June 12 in Arromanches scheduled to take place in English and French.

Claude Brévan, the president of the special commission running the debates, said she hoped Britons would come.

“We have put tracts in English and French in museums and other places of interest in the area, but we have no idea who will turn up,” she said.

She said she was “surprised” at how little the issue of the D Day heritage was mentioned in the first meetings. “At the beginning veterans associations felt this was a diplomatic issue and that they had no lessons to give France. But now individuals are speaking out, sometimes in a highly emotive way. We want everyone to express their views,” she said.

TEDF-Energies Nouvelles, the main contractor, claims will look like matchsticks seen from eleven feet away but Miss Brévan conceded that initial visual mock-ups of the turbines were misleading as “it looked like you would hardly see them”.

“In fact, whether you find them ugly or beautiful, one thing’s for sure: you can quite clearly see a small forest of white masts, particularly from the Canadian and British sectors of Sword, Juno and Gold,” she said.

Mr Butré has refused to take part in the debates, calling them a “masquerade” aimed at justifying a decision already effectively made.

He said the only hope of altering the project was to have the landing beaches classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.

Last week, the Lower Normandy region launched its own online bid to have the beaches receive Unesco status, calling on the public to support the campaign. Laurent Beauvais, Socialist president of the region, said the wind farms would not disqualify them as “modernity and remembrance are compatible”.

Admiral Christian Brac de la Pèrriere, president of France’s Comité du Debarquément, disagreed.

“How can we ask Unesco to make it a protected site if we build a wind-farm just offshore?,” he asked.

But not all veterans have a problem with the project.

George Batts, 88, national secretary of the Normandy Veterans’ Association, was 18 when he landed on Gold beach with the Royal Engineers.

He said: “If they were going to build them on the beaches I’d have a different opinion, but building them out at sea, what difference does that make really?”

“Quite frankly I’m too damned old to worry.”

The Telegraph | June 5, 2013


Haut de page
Qui sommes-nous ?