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Mont Saint-Michel, against wind turbines, France

This conflict on wind turbines ended with a court case decision in August 2013 against bulding a wind farm that would spoil the view and might make UNESCO withdraw Mont Saint Michel from the list of historical monuments.


You will not see wind turbines from Mont-Saint-Michel. The judicial system cancelled in mid-August 2018, a project that provided for the installation of four wind turbines 140 meters high in Tremblay (Ille-et-Vilaine), south of the tourist site of Mont-Saint-Michel.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Mont Saint-Michel, against wind turbines, France
State or province:Ille-et-Vilaine
Location of conflict:Tremblay
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Tourism Recreation
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Large-scale wind energy plants
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services
Wind turbines
Project Details and Actors
Project details

At the origin of the project, it was supposed to have 4 wind turbines not far from Mont Saint Michel. As reported in the press, in August 2013 "a French court ruled against a decision to set up a wind farm off the picturesque northern abbey island of Mont Saint Michel which could threaten the site's UNESCO World Heritage status,. A local environment and landscape group and the owners of a nearby chateau had legally challenged a decision by the local administration in May 2011 to set up four wind turbines 140 metres high ... They complained that the wind turbines would be visible from the monument, which attracts about 2.5 million tourists annually, on a clear day and blight the view... Five wind farm projects around Mont Saint Michel had been rejected between 2008 and 2010 by the local government." [1].

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project23,300,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2007
End of the conflict:2013
Company names or state enterprises:Electricité de France (EDF) from France
Relevant government actors:- M. le Préfet de Basse‐Normandie, (agree with the project)
- M. le Préfet de la Manche (agree with the project)
- M. le Sous‐Préfet d'Avranches et de Saint‐Malo, (agree with the project)
- M. Porchon architecte urbaniste, consultant du Ministère (against the project)
- French Government (agree with the project)
- UNESCO (against the project)
International and Finance InstitutionsUNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from France
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Environment and Landscape Association in Upper Brittany and Ille-et-Vilaine,
- Europe écologie les verts
- Surrounding towns
- Local government/political parties
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project cancelled
Proposal and development of alternatives:Suspend the project/implementation of a management plan based on the view.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The conflict is over, the French courthouse gave his judgment in August 2013. The judgment has followed the recommendation of UNESCO and has suspended the project of wind turbines. At this moment the project cannot be relaunched. There will not have wind turbines in Bretagne close to Mont Saint Michel despite it is an ideal spot with good wind. Arguments on not spoling the view won in the court case.
Sources & Materials

[2] Blockades and street marches in Mont Saint Michel. Marche anti-éoliennes: modeste mobilisation au Mont. 27/09/2013.
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franceinfo avec AFP France Télévisions publié le 29/08/2013
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UNESCO ; May 2012
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UNESCO ; May 2012
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Le avec AFP | 11.06.2012
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AFP 29 août 2013
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[1] French court rejects Mont-St-Michel wind farm, The Local, 29 August 2019
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Loup Sardin; Jules Blard
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3867
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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