Normandy Offshore Wind Farm Meeting in Arromanches Tonight in English

ArromanchesA public meeting in English and French is taking place this evening (Wednesday 12 June) in Arromanches over plans for a €1.8 billion wind farm off the Normandy coast.

Critics say that the 75 wind turbines to be installed 10 to 16 kilometres off a stretch of the Normandy coast between Ouistreham and Arromanches that is famous for the D-Day landings will spoil the atmosphere and solemnity of the area.

The area off Courseulles-sur-Mer covers 50 square kilometres and there is also concern that if it is given the go-ahead it will scupper the applications for the beaches to be given world heritage status by UNESCO.

‘This is an historic site. It is a very sensitive subject,’ said Claude Brévan, president of the CPDP, the Special Commission for Public Debate which has organised a series of meetings to hear the views of all concerned.

Mrs Brévan is expecting a frank and passionate exchange of views this evening at the meeting in the Salle de Fete in Arromanches, the only one that will be translated into English.

The meeting will take place in a hall overlooking the remains of the vast artificial harbour created in the aftermath of D-Day to enable supplies, men and tanks to be landed as the battle for Normandy raged, a view that some think will be desecrated by a wind farm.

Among those who will be there is Gérard Lecornu, president of the Port Winston Churchill association. He reckons the main issue will be how visible the wind turbines will be from the beaches.

‘Our role is to safeguard the memories of this place. We are not backing either side. The view from the beach and the possible impact on the UNESCO applications will be key issues. We will be asking questions,’ he confirmed.

Admiral Christian Brac de la Pèrriere, president of the Comité du Debarquément which organises D-Day commemoration events every year is against the plan. ‘France has striven for nearly 70 years to keep the invasion beaches unspoiled. The first thing that visitors do is to look out to sea and think of the invasion. This project is incoherent and inappropriate,’ he said.

But the Lower Normandy department and the regional council are backing the project as it could see the creation of 7,000 of jobs at a time when the area is experiencing record high unemployment. It is also backed at a national political level as politians aim to provide almost a quarter of France’s needs from renewable energy by the end of the decade.

The main contractor, EDF-Energies Nouvelles, has already reined in the project and reduced the number of turbines from around 100 and wants to start work in two years time. It said that the turbines would be like matchsticks on the horizon.

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About Ray Clancy

Ray Clancy has 20 years experience in journalism including contributing articles to print and on-line publications such as PropertyWire.com, Property World Middle East and websites for estate agents. She has also written for the Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

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