The government must receive , Wednesday, December 13, the report of the three mediators responsible for “overhaul” the project to build an airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes , north of Nantes . Emmanuel Macron had announced that he would take a decision in January on this complex issue, which we tried to summarize the issues in figures.
This is the number of years that have elapsed since a “deferred development zone” (ZAD) was created in 1974 around Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a rural commune some twenty kilometers to the north from Nantes. The project of setting up an airport in the western part emerged in the 1960s. But in the face of strong local opposition, the project was finally put to sleep.
In 2000, the Jospin government relaunched the debate on this airport project, not without reviving the disputes. The declaration of public utility is nevertheless voted in 2008. It is theoretically due on February 9, 2018.
This is the record observed between January and November 2017 at the Nantes-Atlantique airport, whose traffic is rising sharply (+ 14% in one year). The aim of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL) project is to relieve the current infrastructure located in the south-west of the city. According to the first elements of the mediators’ report, unveiled by Ouest-France , traffic in Nantes is expected to exceed 9 million passengers by 2040.
This is the threshold beyond which a noise prevention plan in the environment must betriggered . It has been achieved, say the elected officials of the coastal communities of Nantes-Atlantique, who advance the noise nuisance as the main argument in favor of the relocation of the airport and require, at a minimum, to prohibit the night flights.
The current airport has only one 2.9 km runway and is located in an urban area. Notre-Dame-des-Landes would have two tracks, which his supporters consider a real progress. But during the review of the file, reflections were conducted to extend the current track of Nantes-Atlantique or build a second track perpendicular to the first. A previous report estimated that the NDDL project was oversized, and could itself be content with a single track.
These are two estimates, almost doubling, of the cost of the NDDL airport. The builder, Vinci, assured in 2010 that the airport would cost 561 million euros, of which only 43% at the expense of the state and local authorities. Very underestimated, according to the opponents, who, by adding the tram-train and the feeder roads, reach a slate of at least 920 million euros , most of which would then be financed by public funds. A different 2011 study is even more pessimistic.
Difficult to quantify precisely the redevelopment of Nantes-Atlantique. In 2013, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) referred to a closure of the runway for three to six months and a total bill of 825 million euros. The mediation report on Wednesday seems much less pessimistic, and puts a range between 415 million and 545 million euros, and a shorter closing time.
Other unknown file: what will be the amount of compensation to be paid to Airport Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of Vinci Airports? No official figure is confirmed. Estimates range between 200 million and 350 million euros. Overvalued, according to opponents, who speak instead of 150 million euros.
This is the land takeover of the Greater West Airport (AGO) project, even though the airport itself only covers 500 hectares. If the state owns most of it, there are 650 hectares of farms, whose owners refuse to give up their land. In addition, the place is a wetland, where a hundred protected species live. Ecological offsets are planned for … four of them.
This is the approximate number of activists who live in cabins or squatted farms in the ZAD airport they renamed “area to defend . ” Some have been present since 2009. A police evacuation to dislodge them , the operation “Caesar”, failed in 2012.
Difficult to quantify the direct and indirect economic benefits of the airport. The construction site of the airport should generate at least 700 jobs. But opponents point out that 200 farmers would lose their business. The supporters of the project , on the contrary, believe that the operation of the site would create 3000 jobs, without counting the project to implement a research institute at the current site of Nantes Atlantique.
The voters of Loire-Atlantique voted in June 2016 for the transfer of the airport in a local referendum. According to a poll conducted at the end of November 2017 by the IFOP for the Airport Joint Trade Union, 76% of those interviewed want “the public authorities to follow and apply the will of the citizens”. The very fact of having launched a mediation mission shows that the new government is hesitant on the issue.