WWF France says Nantes airport at NDDL should not proceed without many more environmental studies

After several months of study of the various arguments about a new “projet d’aéroport du Grand Ouest”airport plan for Nantes at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, WWF France has now made public its position.  They say the project should not go ahead without a lot of further studies being done. They are urging the French government to implement a number of additional studies to quantify the actual project impacts on ecosystems and people.  Studies already show  the importance of the biodiversity of the site but still contain many gaps (flora, birds, insects, reptiles …).  Further studies are also needed on  the airport’s wider environmental impacts.  WWF also considers that flood risk has been underestimated and more work is needed to investigate this.  There are also important issues about hydrological impacts on drainage, water supply, and catchment areas on which work is needed as the airport may have negative impacts. Natural areas provide valuable “ecosystem services” at no cost, and these should not be put at risk, just for an airport. 



Statement by WWF France on proposed Nantes airport.


After several months of study of the various arguments, WWF makes public its position on the airport project of the Great West. To the risks of damage to local biodiversity, WWF France urges government to implement a number of additional studies to quantify actual project impacts on ecosystems and human activities.

> Conducting inventories fauna / flora complete for all taxonomic groups whose presence is already known on the site or for which habitats are favorable throughout the season, including fall and winter .

These show very clearly the issues relating to the biodiversity of the site of Notre-Dame-des-Landes and objectively assess the impact of the airport project on natural habitats, species and their population and the ecological significance of the site, especially as migratory crossroads.

WWF considers that the studies to date (research firm Biotope 2002, 2006 and 2011) have indeed demonstrated the importance of the biodiversity of the site but still contain many gaps (flora, birds, insects, reptiles …) and can not detect environmental issues overall project. Further studies are needed to better assess the situation.

> A comprehensive flood risk that may cause the project to the surrounding villages.

WWF considers that this risk was underestimated in the current study, which are based on existing knowledge but not considered sufficient for profound changes in the project.Based on the results of the study, a consideration of these risks must be made within the framework of the implementation of plans to prevent flood risk (PPRI);

> A real evaluation of hydrological features of wetlands on the site .

WWF considers that the case law on water can not simply indicate that the detailed assessment of the hydrological functions of wetlands requires the implementation of specific studies with the implementation of measures and analyzes in situ but also the watershed scale involved, and on time scales sufficiently long (multi-tracked). These types of studies are lengthy and complex of research and experimentation.

A detailed assessment, “field”, hydrological features is not feasible for these reasons.

These specific studies must be carried out for a real consideration of the services rendered by wetlands on the site, on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of water resources, mitigation of flood risk and their importance as a biological reservoir;


> A legal study of the consequences of this project on the principle of compensation and its implications at the national level on the doctrine of “avoid, reduce, offset”. The results of this study must then be a national debate .

Without such additional information, it is unthinkable to WWF France to launch a project of airport infrastructure at the site of Notre-Dame-des-Landes.


Article in its original French at





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