Court in Nantes permits the evictions of 11 families, in 2 months, for proposed new airport

The High Court of Nantes decided on Monday 25th January, to permit the evictions of the long-term inhabitants and opponents of the airport project at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Loire-Atlantique. A period of two months was given to the eleven families occupying houses, including four farms. The time limit does not apply to farm buildings or livestock, as they farmers have made it clear it is not possible to move a farm in two months. The legal judgement said the “the legal conditions for the eviction applications were deemed met in all cases.” The lawyers for the project’s opponents had considered the expulsions were “not consistent with the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights”. The company trying to build the new airport, AGO, had hoped to negotiate with the land owners to find an amicable settlement, but eleven families refused. It had been feared that there would be punitive fines, each day, for the families if they did not move out, but the magistrate said this was not justified as it would be “disproportionate for families who have only modest means.” Opponents say this eviction decision will now force the government to act. The state will have to forcibly remove people, after 26th March, from an area wider than the ZAD (zone à défendre). The attempts at forced evictions in 2012 ended in violent scenes.



Notre-Dame-des-Landes : « On ne déménage pas une ferme en deux mois »

Notre-Dame-des-Landes: “We do not move a farm in two months’



By Remi Barroux (Nantes, special correspondent)

The eleven families who refused the expropriation of their lands to the court of Nantes, January 13, 2016. 


The High Court (TGI) of Nantes decided, Monday, January 25, to validate expulsions historical inhabitants and opponents of the project of airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Loire-Atlantique. A period of two months was given to the eleven families occupying houses, four farms. Regarding the latter, the time limit does not apply to farm buildings or livestock. Clearly, summarize the farmers concerned, they can not be expelled from their homes during the two months to come, but the rest of their operations could be seized or destroyed tomorrow.

A reading of the judgment, at 14:30 – “legal conditions eviction applications were deemed met in all cases”, said Pierre Gramaize, Senior Vice-President of TGI Nantes – the opponents of the project have accused kick. Without imagine to prevent the expulsion, they nevertheless hoped that the judge would not reject the transfer requests of priority issues of constitutionality (QPC). Their lawyers had indeed filed a QPC, finding that the deportation proceedings was “not consistent with the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights”. It would be, in their view, a breach of equal treatment between several expulsion procedures. Las Pierre Gramaize found them “devoid of seriousness”.

Read also: Notre-Dame-des-Landes: Emmanuelle Cosse denounced “a will to push through”

The expulsions were requested by the company Aéroports du Grand Ouest (AGO), a subsidiary of Vinci, who won the 1 st  January 2011, the concession of the land where the airport is to be built, for a period of fifty five years. AGO had negotiated with all land owners to find an amicable settlement but eleven families refused these proposals redemption of their land.

Map ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes with the future of the airport layout and occupancy of places militants hostile to the project.
En savoir plus sur Map ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes with the future of the airport layout and occupancy of places militants hostile to the project.


Opponents and their lawyers can nevertheless boast a small victory. Indeed, the magistrate did not match his decision to a financial penalty, demanded by the dealer, in the amount of 200 euros to 1000 euros per day for owners who refused to leave the scene before the deadline. It held that such a measure is not justified, as “disproportionate for families who have only modest means.” “The individual circumstances of each case has been investigated, including the presence of children, in accordance with the European Convention on human rights and child rights. (…) The case of an elderly person has been carefully studied. “

See also: Airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes: where are we?

Evacuation to an end in March

This decision is very important because it will force the government to act, say opponents. “The true victory is that the judge dismissed the application for financial penalty. Families have no stress, then it will be for the State to decide to expel forcibly occupants from March 26, “says Erwan Le Moigne, counsel for the families. He also believes that from the time when the security forces intervene to proceed to expulsions, it will be to evacuate the entire area. “We do not in fact see how the police force would leave farmers, families, children without expelling as all zadistes [opponents of the project] Hedgerow “, he says.

Rendez you so late March. By then, the state might want to evacuate or destruction of all that is outside of houses. But again, the first concerned do not want to believe this nightmare scenario. “The judge granted us two months for the housing. But no firm moved in two months, and animals that could be tomorrow, a real disaster, “exclaimed Sylvain Fresneau, farmer and historical opponent. When asked what he will do, he calmly replied: “There, I milked my cows, we’ll see tomorrow. “

“This is the first time a judge decides expulsion of a deadline for such a procedure following an expropriation decision and removes any financial constraint”, sums up Erwan Le Moigne. But some opponents tempered optimism. “Our lawyers tell us that it is a victory in legal terms, but the pressure remains strong. I dragged this matter for years. I had four bailiffs visits in a few months, the registered mail, me, it does not suit me, nor me nor my neighbors “, as evidenced by Alain Brétécher living for twenty-five years in his house of Our Lady -of-Landes. Opposed to the airport project, in solidarity with all the other occupants, Alain, electrician who lives with her ​​13 year old daughter does not want to relive the violent events that marked the ZAD (zone defense) late 2012, when the government wanted to do, unsuccessfully, to its evacuation during Operation Caesar. Several days of clashes in the area and close to home.

Legal remedies still ongoing

So, opponents still believe in victory. In front of the palace of justice Nantes, they were coming 200 to wait the outcome of the judgment. For them, as was proclaimed Julien Durand, spokesman for the Association of Municipal intercitoyenne populations affected by the airport project (ACIPA), “there will never be airport at Notre Dame des -Landes “.

Above all, the decision of TGI concerns “that” evictions historical opponents. It slice anything on the merits of the case and the appeal against prefectural orders still under appeal. “I have not ruled on the merits of the airport, a public utility, it is the administrative court decide , I have brought judgment on the issue of expulsions “, told the World Pierre Gramaize, while congratulating” for the first time in the historyjudiciary decided to grant a period of two expropriated months: a small step for opponents of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a big step for the right of expulsion “.

Legal battle still ongoing

The decision of Nantes TGI precedes another judgment Wednesday to expel militants arrived in October 2015 and launched a project at the canning Noë Verte. The legal battle is not over, especially as a prefectural order is still awaited on the amphibious voles – a protected species of rodents – and that will be immediately attacked by opponents. Naturalists, hostile to the airport project, also said in December 2015, have found at the site, which must accommodate the site five new protected species.

On the ground, the two camps, hostile or favorable to the airport project, so do not plan to disarm in the coming days. And the mobilizations are linked. Saturday, a thousand opponents of the project have wandered peacefully in the center -town Nantes. Meanwhile, Bruno Retailleau, the new president (Republicans) in the region Pays de la Loire, went to Notre-Dame-des-Landes in support of residents whose homes were tagged by “zadistes” and call the evacuation of the area and the work begins.

Read also: Notre-Dame-des-Landes, the alliance of peasants and zadistes

On Friday, a delegation of activists of associations opposed to the transfer of the existing airport, Nantes Atlantique to Notre-Dame-des-Landes, was received very discreetly at the Department of Ecology inParis. The Minister, Segolene Royal, who was not present at the meeting, has never hidden his opposition to the start of work, and proposed that a new analysis be made ​​regarding the necessity of the transfer.

The record of Notre-Dame-des-Landes remains eminently political. One year before the presidential election, François Hollande he will risk triggering hostilities with the opponents of the airport project, and their many supporters in the country, ready to do battle with Vinci and the authorities, to break with the ecologist electorate?

Read also: Notre-Dame-des-Landes: time to decide

Original article in French at



See also:

from on 25.1.2016

Solidarity with the courageous activists opposing airport expansion in France and the UK

We stand in solidarity with the activists in France and the UK, who now face evictions and jail sentences for standing up to protect the climate during protests against the expanding aviation industry. They took bold steps where governments have stumbled, acting out of principle to try and stop the increase in pollution to our air and atmosphere by an industry whose reckless expansion poses a grave threat to our climate.

Today, courts in each country simultaneously announced verdicts against the #Heathrow13 and 11 families from Notre-Dame-des-Landes (near Nantes) who have taken a peaceful stand against airport expansion. We are grateful for their dedication and shocked by the unjust and disproportionate verdicts that fail to take into account the overwhelming threat posed by climate change.

The suggestion by the court in the UK that jail time for this peaceful protest is “almost inevitable” will only re-invigorate the debate around the need for a 3rd runway at Heathrow and aviation expansion across Europe. It also raises the question of whether harsh sentences could be used to deter future dissent over increased air traffic.

The verdict refers to the costs incurred by a polluting industry as a result of the protest, but doesn’t recognise the urgent need to protect people from the economic and human costs of climate change.

In France, the court confirmed the evictions of eleven families to build a new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, close to Nantes. Farmers and environmentalists have been fighting the planned airport for forty years, occupying the area and mobilising tens of thousands in protest. That fight will surely continue.

In the words of the Heathrow 13: “When the democratic, legislative and political processes have failed, it takes the actions of ordinary people to change them.”


See earlier:

A thousand opponents of new Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport protest outside evictions court hearing

Backers of proposed airport at Nantes want the eviction of farmers from the site. More than 1,000 protesters gathered outside the court in Nantes where the hearing – that could evict the last 11 families living on the proposed airport – was heard. Aéroport du Grand Ouest (AGO), a subsidiary of Vinci Airports, is requesting crippling fines of up to €1,000 per person per day against farmers who are refusing to move, as well as the seizure of farm properties and animals. Around 300 environmental protesters are currently camped out around the site in a long-standing protest that last weekend mobilised 20,000 people for “Operation Escargot”, an action blocking traffic on regional roads, including the Loire bridge. One Nantes resident facing expulsion, Sylvain Fresnau, a 54-year-old farmer with three children, said he did not believe that evictions would be possible due to the strength of local feeling. He said: “We don’t need another airport in Nantes. We already have 145 airports in this country”. Conservation lawyers say the new court action violates a commitment made by President François Hollande that there would be no more evictions until legal avenues had been fully exhausted. He has not kept his promise, and the case has become symbolic for French environmentalists. The judgement in the evictions case is not expected before 25 January.

Click here to view full story…

Estimated 20,000 protesters from across France demonstrate massive opposition to proposed Nantes airport

Organisers of the massive peaceful protest on the 9th January, against the proposed new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes estimated there were 20,000 people at the demonstration. The aim was to show the massive opposition there is to the airport, and especially to the forced eviction of the 11 families and 4 farmers from land on the planned construction site. At the protest, traffic was halted on the Nantes ring road, using dozens of tractors and blocking access to the city’s airport, Nantes Atlantique. Protesters say that the €580 million project is not necessary,will be detrimental to the environment and is a wasteful use of government funds.The battle against this development has been going on for 15 years, and has become a focal issue across France, against unnecessary high carbon projects that damage the environment or uproot people. There are over 100 support committees in places across France. The airport would require the loss of valuable marshy habitat, home to important wildlife, and good agricultural land. Some agricultural organizations threatened to maintain an indefinite blockade of one of the main river crossings, the Chevire Bridge over the Loire. Clashes between protesters and the authorities in 2012 resulted in a temporary halt to construction. The last major protest resulted in clashes with police in February 2014. There was a legal hearing in Nantes about the evictions on Tuesday 13th January – with again a huge crowd outside – the outcome is expected to be known on 25th January.

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Protests and mobilisations on Saturday 9th January against evictions for planned Nantes airport at NDDL

On Saturday 9th January, there will again be huge mobilisations of people against the planned new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, in western France. Not only will there be gatherings at NDDL itself, and in Nantes but the many support committees in other places across France will plan mobilisations too. These included a bike convoy and a protest on foot in Paris, where people will be singing and dancing and giving out literature. The protest is because the authorities plan to carry out compulsory evictions on the 11 families and 4 farms in the ZAD (the zone à défendre), which are due to start in January. They are in the area where Vinci, the company planning to build the airport, want to start work. There is to be a court hearing on 13th January to request their removal, with a fine of € 200 to € 1,000 / day / person and the seizure and sequestration of property and farm animals. People who are passionate that the airport should not be built are not prepared to see these evictions. The government had agreed they would not happen until all legal remedies had been fully exhausted – and they have not. The airport opponents believe it would make better environmental and economic sense to improve the existing Nantes airport, rather than ruin valuable natural habitats and destroy productive farmland. They want a proper independent study done.

Click here to view full story…


Open letter by ACIPA to François Hollande asking for forced evictions at NDDL to be stopped

At Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), where a new airport for Nantes is planned, there are due to be forced evictions of those who remain on the land, after a tribunal hearing on 10th December. At the moment 11 families and four farms located in the area of the airport wants to build. The protest group at NDDL have now written to the President of the Republic François Hollande, to ask him to prevent these expulsions. The expulsion order is by AGO (Aéroports du Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of Vinci) on behalf of the state. ACIPA says that therefore, the responsibility lies with the President. There was a month long hunger strike in May 2012, and to end that, an assurance was given that there would not be evictions. That was updated in 2014. ACIPA say the families believed the assurances by government, and they have therefore not made arrangements to leave. The families and the farmers face all their property and livestock being put into receivership if they will not leave. The government made successive promises that all legal remedies would be pursued to exhaustion, and appeals are still pending. ACIPA asks how the President will keep the trust of potential voters, if he does not keep his word. ACIPA want a meeting with the President, the waiving of expulsion orders, and a proper investigation into options to improve the existing Nantes airport

Click here to view full story…