France’s Europe Ecology – The Greens (Europe Écologie Les Verts, EELV) are celebrating a long-awaited victory after a decision by the French government to scrap plans to build a controversial airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes near Nantes. They say the new airport would have been unacceptably expensive and damaging to the environment.
A huge win for @EELV and environmental campaigners in France as the country's government abandons the Notre-Dame-Des-Landes #NDDL airport after decades of civic resistance, engagement and mobilisation 💚 Félicitations https://t.co/KFXjEyAfVg— European Greens (@europeangreens) January 17, 2018
"The ecologists believe this brave and level-headed decision sets an important precedent: economic development cannot be achieved without carefully considering the environment and seeking the approval of local people", said Julien Bayou, the EELV spokesperson.
Énorme victoire obtenue grâce à 50 ans de mobilisations conjointes. Agriculteurs, écologistes, zadistes, élu·e·s locaux·ales, citoyen·ne·s de partout : bravo ! https://t.co/pLMM0ZVFua— Julien Bayou (@julienbayou) January 17, 2018
The French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that "stiff opposition" made it impossible to proceed with the new airport, adding: "The project is therefore abandoned."
Le projet de Notre-Dame-des-Landes sera donc abandonné. #NDDL— Edouard Philippe (@EPhilippePM) January 17, 2018
Other similar projects, say EELV, should now also be called into question as a result of the ruling, such as the EuropaCity development in northern Paris, a new high-speed rail link connecting Charles de Gaulle airport, and a new Centre Parcs holiday complex in Burgundy.
EELV are also calling on police to respect the rights of protestors who have settled on the land growing vegetables and raising animals - including chickens, pigs, and sheep.
Sandra Regol, spokesperson for EELV, said: "Young people come here to show that other forms of agriculture are possible; to work the land, and protect soils that some would prefer to cover with concrete. It is a rural, utopian, collective space that creates the conditions for another type of agriculture that is affirming and sustainable."
C'est une excellente nouvelle que les alternative soient enfin entendues ! Ce sera une victoire si la #ZAD reste un lieu d'agriculture paysanne et d'expérimentation, donc si la gestion se fait dans le calme avec un encadrement légalement comme les baux du Larzac. https://t.co/ca28X5Ohaw— Sandra Regol (@sandraregol) January 17, 2018
They are calling for "a temporary freeze of the institutional redistribution of land, so the area can continue being collectively managed by those who have fought to save it from destruction." Victories such as this one (and the recent move to ban pulse fishing), they say, demonstrate the will of citizens to actively engage in their future and re-examine old certainties and our political vision of the future.
EELV supports a call by the movement protesting the airport construction to gather on 10 February in the area previously designated for the airport to mark the 10th anniversary since the project was issued with a declaration of public utility.