The Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced that the controversial plan for a new airport for the City of Nantes (44) will go ahead next year in 2015, despite legal orders suspending the project due to the numerous and on-going protests to the plan.
The construction of Notre Dame des Landes airport should start as soon as in mid-2015, told the regional daily Ouest-France .
“Good luck with that!” was Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal’s response.
“The prime minister can take any decision he wants, I don’t have to comment,” she added, apparently embarrassed by the fact that Valls had not bothered to inform her of his position before giving the interview.
There has been a huge controversy over this plan in this region since it was first decided that Nantes needed a larger aiport than its existing one to deal with the anticipated increase in passenger volumes. There has been numerous protests from thousands of ecology campaigners, left wingers and farmers, with many occupying the site North of the City at the Notre Dame des landes Site.
The controversial plan to build a new airport to replace the existing one in Nantes was first proposed in the 1960s but has never got any further. It was brought back to the top of the agenda when Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin decided to reduce congestion at Parisian airports in 2000.
Although it has had strong support from a former prime minister and former mayor of Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault, the building permits, which were orginally filed in April 2013, have been suspended due to numerous and successive appeals based on environmental decrees.
There has been at least eight appeals filed in October 2014 and more than 30 other objections are still under investigation, according to the project’s opponents.
According to Manuel Valls, the project has very good support form both local and regional authorities and refuses to give up the project because of concerns over the local ecology.
Opponents to the construction, imply that besides the damage to the enviroment, that the project is not financially viable and in actual fact the size of the Terminal buildings and maintenance area will be smaller than the existing airport, and this is expected to be able to cope with the estimated doubling of the amount of passengers that the current airport deals with, to 9 million per year.
The orginal cost of the new airport was estimated to be 560 million Euros, but this has now risen to around the 800 million Euro mark, which given the shortcomings of the buildings and terminals, and the damage to the enviroment, I wonder why they pursue with this plan, although I can imagine that this is not the last that we will hear of this.