Nantes Aeroport du Grand Ouest at NDDL – now abandoned – after 50 year battle

Many news stories (some in less than perfect English translation!) at                          Nantes Airport News

Airport project abandoned on 17.1.2018 

After 50 year battle, French government abandons plans for new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Victory!

It has finally been announced, by Edouard Philippe (Prime Minister of France) that the proposed new airport for Nantes, at Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), has been abandoned.  President Emmanuel Macron and Edouard Philippe have buried the project, which has been seriously criticised for its cost and its environmental consequences. The leaders see the airport as impossible to build because of the fierce opposition by around half the population, so it just a constant source of division. Instead the executive backs re-development of the current Nantes-Atlantique airport, south of the city of Nantes, which will be modernised and have its runway lengthened. That would help a bit to lessen the noise from the flight path that goes over part of the city. The Prime Minister has also announced an expansion of the airport of Rennes-Saint-Jacques and a development of high-speed rail lines between the West and Paris airports. Opponents of the NDDL scheme are jubilant – the battle has lasted almost 50 years, and they almost lost on several occasions. But Edouard Philippe said the “zone to defend” (ZAD) will be cleared, so it is no longer a lawless area with blocked roads etc.  Those occupying it will have to leave, and the land be returned to agricultural use

Click here to view full story…

Notre-Dame-des-Landes referendum: 55% majority in favour of new airport – ACIPA fights on

There was a referendum in the Loire-Atlantique département on 26th June, with the question whether people backed the moving of the current Nantes-Atlantique airport south of Nantes, to a site north of Nantes, at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Finally the voting was 55% in favour of the move. The area to be destroyed for the new airport is good farm land and valuable wetland habitat, and there has been fierce, determined opposition to the project for years. The local opposition, focused through ACIPA, was deeply critical of the way the referendum was organised. They believe areas other than just those in Loire-Atlantique should have been consulted. Some of these areas would be opposed to the move, and some have to contribute public funds towards it. The government wanted the poll as early as possible, as there is a “declaration of public utility” lasting till October, so work has to start by then. The prime minister, Manual Valls, made a statement as soon as the referendum result was known, that “the government will implement the verdict.” Those backing the new airport want to clear the protesters living illegally on the ZAD, some of the land on which the airport would be built, moved away soon, so clearing work can start. ACIPA said this result was just one step in their long struggle against the airport, and their struggle now continues.

Click here to view full story…

10 point summary of the main reasons why there should not be a new Nantes Airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

Nantes-Atlantique 10 vérités qui dérangent




Information from ACIPA on why the airport is not needed, and should not be built


Timeline of the plans for a new Nantes airport over the years – since its start in 1967

ACIPA – the campaign at Nantes against a new airport at Notre Dame des Landes, is having another huge gathering and protest on 5th and 6th July

Des forums, des débats, des conférences, des stands, des concerts, des animations…. Retenez d’ores et déjà votre weekend des 5 et 6 juillet 2014. Plus d’informations à venir… [Forums, debates, conferences, stands, concerts, animations ….  Keep free your weekend on 5 and 6 July 2014.     More information to come …] Facebook .

Saturday February 22nd 2014 – a large demonstration against new airport

Big “manif” organised to protest against “the unnecessary & costly project of a new airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes.”
Information on Facebook’Etat et les pro-aéroports menacent de passer de nouveau en force. Ils prétendent débuter, dans les mois qui viennent, la destruction des espèces protégées et les chantiers de l’aéroport. Une nouvelle vague d’expulsion pourrait survenir.Nous ne les laisserons pas faire ! Les travaux ne commenceront pas !Sur place, le mouvement est plus vivant encore qu’à l’automne 2012, les liens plus denses, les champs plus cultivés et les habitats plus nombreux. Au delà, plus de 200 comités locaux se sont créés, en solidarité avec la lutte et pour la faire essaimer par chez eux.-In English (apologies if imperfect translation): The government and those pro the airport are threatening to come back with a vengeance. They hope to begin, in the coming months, the destruction of protected species and sites for the airport. A new wave of expulsion may occur. We will not let them! Work will not start! On site, the movement is even more alive than it was in autumn of 2012. There are better links, more cultivated fields and more habitats. In addition, more than 200 local committees were created in solidarity with the struggle and to come and take part.


3rd and 4th August 2013-  huge gathering near Nantes, at Notre Dame des Landes

hoping to finally bury the planned airport

affiche3-247-4 August
with forums, debates, exhibitions, concerts.
Details at


25 kilometer Chaine Humaine – 11th May 2013

Nearly 40,000 people formed a 25km human chain surrounding site of proposed new Nantes airport

Mission accomplished for the opponents of Notre-Dame-des-Landes: from France entirely, they could circle the contested site. Large numbers of people had come long distances to be there, many travelling overnight by bus, and then shared their picnics in a good natured event with a festive, but determined, spirit. The opponents of the new airport say that it is not needed, the economic arguments don’t stack up, it will increase carbon emissions, and will destroy valuable farmland and biodiversity. At the moment, the project is considerably delayed, but it is still going ahead. Its opponents want it stopped, and they show no sign of reducing their intense opposition.    Click here to view full story…  with many more photos … .

Main opposition group is ACIPA    
ACIPA = Association Citoyenne Intercommunale des Populations concernées par le projet d’Aéroport de Notre Dame des Landes


Information datasheets from ACIPA

ACIPA has put together a page containing a list of key documents giving information about the proposed airport, and the arguments against it. This is at    ACIPA datasheets

En un seul article, toutes les fiches techniques argumentaires de la coordination des opposants:

and more detail, with links to PDF versions of the datasheets, at  ACIPA datasheets

Basic background on the proposed Nantes airport:

There is already an airport at Nantes, but the regional authorities and the French government want to build a new airport to the north west of Nantes, at Notre Dame des Landes, in pristine countryside.  This airport will be large, and far bigger than the existing airport.  Work on the airport and the associated roads is due to start at the end of 2012.  Opposition to the plans has been fierce and determined. Opponents believe the airport is not needed (un grande projet inutile imposé), even the economics don’t work, it will have a negative impact on climate change, and ruin an unspoilt area of France that is now a quiet farming district. The authorities occupied the land that is due to be built on, evicting the squatters, farmers and local people defending the area, using a  considerable amount of force, in October 2012. The opponents do not intend to be removed, and continue to fight hard.  Until November 2012, the mainstream French media did not cover this story, but that has now changed. The mass protest on 17th November had somewhere between 14,000 to 40,000 protesters from across France. There is much more in the various articles, in English, at Nantes Airport News This is the brochure, in French, from Vinci, giving information about their planned airport.  Vinci brochure (12 pages) There is also a lot in French about the proposed new airport and the fight against it, by  ACIPA    ACIPA = Association Citoyenne Intercommunale des Populations concernées par le projet d’Aéroport de Notre Dame des Landes

ACIPA on Facebook:
2 blogs on what has been happening (from the perspective of one of the campaigners) well written and beautifully illustrated:
1. Rural Rebels and Useless Airports: La ZAD – Europe’s largest Postcapitalist land occupation.

Films of what is happening in Nantes and Notre-Dame des Landes:
There are several films about what has been going on at Nantes.
With French sub-titles (easier to understand than the spoken French, for those us with minimal French skills!) at Zone a Defendre 
There is and a longer but dramatic film by the campaigners, of protests facing armed police in the French countryside as they try to stop houses being knocked down to make way for the proposed new airport. (October 2012) at   ZAD Notre Dame des Landes
A short news report.  A short you tube video of campaigners urging drivers to drive slowly on a nearby highway in support of the protest. MAPS: There is also a MAP showing the locations of the evictions etc. Also a larger map of the area. And a MAP of the whole area, showing Nantes and Notre-Dame des Landes to the north west of it.

A new airport – to be called Nantes International – has been given permission, and work was due to start on it in 2012, for completion in 2017.

Wikipedia page on Nantes Atlantique  Nantes Atlantique is currently the largest airport in the west of France; however it can only handle three million passengers a year and cannot be expanded because it is too close to the city. It is therefore currently planned that it will be replaced by a new Aéroport du Grand Ouest, situated 30 km (19 mi) to the north-west of Nantes in the ‘commune’ of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. The €580 million project was approved in February 2008, with construction expected to start in 2014 and an opening date in 2017.[12] .


This is some of the history (not from the protesters’ point of view) of opposition to a new Nantes airport:


 November 17, 2012
  • Numerous demonstrations took place against Nantes airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes.
The new airport project of “Greater West” Notre-Dame-des-Landes, north of Nantes, against which a major event to re-take land in the ZAD took place on 17th November 2012, has been the target of numerous protests over 10 years.
December 9, 2001  : 500 people demonstrated in Nantes to call the Citizens’ Association of populations affected by airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes (ACIPA).
June 27, 2004  : Hundreds of people participate in a “citizen picnic” in the area chosen for the construction of the new airport.
June 25, 2006  : An event brings 3500 opponents, according to police, the call of ACIPA and the Greens.
August 2, 2009  : At a picnic opponents brought together two to three thousand people on the site.
November 8, 2010  : Dozens of opponents prevent the start of the public inquiry at the town hall of Notre-Dame-des-Landes and protest against the disappearance of hundreds of hectares of farmland and wetlands rich in biodiversity . The inquiry will resume on 17 under heavy protection.
November 27, 2010  : Five hundred people clashed with police in front of the town hall.
6 May 2011  : Several hundred demonstrators, armed with farming equipment, undertake clearing a parcel of land through expropriation to assign to a group of farmers. They are dislodged after clashes with police.
July 9, 2011  : Three thousand people according to police, supported by politicians of  the left and Modem organize a meeting on the site. .
July 27, 2011  : Three protesters were wounded and five policemen during a demonstration in the existing airport at Bouguenais.
November 12, 2011  : Three thousand people demonstrated in Paris, before the Senate.
March 24, 2012  : From 3000 to 10,000 people, according to sources, protested at manifest in Nantes . Vivid incidents after the event..
June 21, 2012  : Clashes between police and opponents who are blocking access to the municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Landes to prevent the opening of a new public inquiry.
October 17, 2012  : Policemen equipped with tear gas and rubber-bullets break down roadblocks mby opponents dislodged the eve of the houses they occupied.
October 20, 2012  : 1,300 people, police, appear to Nantes .   .
October 24, 2012  : While the prime minister and former mayor of Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault, the project champion, speaks on France Inter, opponents seized the microphone France Culture to read a statement.
October 30, 2012: The police launched a new eviction provoking sharp confrontations. Three injured protesters, six of the gendarmes.
November 7, 2012  : New clashes while police blow up roadblocks.
November 10, 2012  : Demonstration in Rennes for the maintenance of agricultural land and against the concrete. About 700 people, according to police, demonstrate in Paris including Senator environmentalist Jean-Vincent Place and Green MP Denis Beaupin.



Sign the Avaaz petition against Nantes airport


1.8.2012   Petition at   The petition says the Nantes airport project is an  economic, social and environmental aberration.  Located 18 km from the center of Nantes, it would not solve the problems in the city’s current airport. It  would only move them.  It would inflict serious nuisance on over 80 000 inhabitants of the municipalities in the northern suburbs of Nantes.  Connecting the various structures that it needs (roads, railways, bridge on Loire) would also cause problems (expropriations – compulsory purchase) and nuisance to thousands of others. The colossal cost of this infrastructure would weigh on the taxes of people across the department and result in budget cuts in other areas such as education and health. With traffic of up to 9 million passengers, this airport would significantly increase emissions of greenhouse gases. So we say NO to the airport project of Notre Dame des Landes!

Abandonnez le projet d’Aéroport à Notre-Dame-des-Landes!



Nantes airport building plans, set back by 2 years by the hunger strike

May 14, 2012    The hunger strike at Nantes, against the Projet d’ aéroport du Grand Ouest, Notre-Dame-des-Landes, ended last week. Now the legal procedures continue, against compulsory purchase of land from farmers and others living in the site, some 30 km north of Nantes, where the airport would be sited and where work would have soon started. The Mayor of Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault, had been a keen supporter of the airport for years. He is still very much in favour of it. There is bitterness that he did not once visit the hunger strike over its 28 days, until pressure was put on him by Francoise Hollande’s office to meet one of the campaign. The planned airport would be the main airport for Western France and have up to 9 million passengers per year eventually (current airport has 3 million passengers).     Click here to view full story…

The ACIPA website says:

LE PROJET D’AEROPORT DE NOTRE-DAME-DES-LANDES est une aberration économique, sociale et environnementale

Situé à 18 km du centre de Nantes, il ne résoudrait pas les problèmes que pose à la ville l’actuel aéroport. Il les déplacerait seulement. Il infligerait des nuisances graves à plus de 80 000 habitants des communes de la banlieue nord de Nantes. Les diverses structures de raccordement qui lui seraient nécessaires (routes, voies ferrées, pont sur la Loire) causeraient également des problèmes (expropriations) et des nuisances  à des milliers d’autres personnes. Le coût colossal de cette infrastructure pèserait sur les impôts des habitants de tout le département et entraînerait des réductions de budget dans d’autres domaines tels l’éducation et la santé. Avec un trafic pouvant aller jusqu’à 9 millions de passagers, cet aéroport augmenterait considérablement les émissions de gaz effet de serre, alors même que le gouvernement proclame son intention de les réduire. Contrairement  ce qu’affirment ses partisans, cet aéroport ne serait pas “bon pour l’emploi” , il créerait l’outil permettant aux entreprises de délocaliser et détruirait les emplois existants. Avec des avions  à deux minutes de vol du site sévéso de Donges, cet aéroport ferait courir à toute la région un risque tel que, bien que la probabilité en soit faible, il serait criminel de la négliger.

Nous disons donc NON au projet d’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes


In June 2008, several campaigners from the UK were asked to go to meet the campaigners fighting plans for a new two-runway airport to be built outside Nantes in South West France (Nantes International !) and to speak at their rally.   Five of the Nantes campaigners came  to the Heathrow Rally on May 31st 2008.. Below is something they produced.   It is worth reading – and  is one of the most poetic and moving things ever written against airport expansion. A bit about the proposed  Nantes Airport .  

  • Nantes already has a one-runway airport which is only used to 30% of its capacity. The campaigners argue with good reason that the reason why the new airport is being proposed is to satisfy the egos of the local politicians and particularly the city’s Mayor.   There is a fast, direct rail service to Charles de Gaulle Airport just outside Paris .  
  • The new airport, plus a four-lane motorway to service it, would be built in beautiful, lush countryside populated by small farmers whose farmsteads and villages would be wiped out.   The contrast between the sustainable living of many of the farmstead owners and a development to cater for the most unsustainable form of transport could not be stronger.   At the farmstead where  the UK visitors  stayed, the couple and their son were trying to live in  a fully sustainable way:   they eat their own vegetables, fruit and animals and even had their own well.   They were not untypical.  A video cries out to be made about what would be lost if the airport went ahead.
  • Although the authorities have planning permission for the airport, they don’t have the money (despite their ludicrous claim that the entire project will only cost between 4 and 5 million euros!).   The airport would require public and private funding.   The public cost would be shared between the regional and national governments. The campaigners say that, when the people of Nantes itself (which wouldn’t be affected by the new airport) understand that, in order to pay for the airport, their health, schools and social services budgets would need to be cut, they will oppose it.
So, with these arguments on their side, coupled with a feisty determination to defend their way of life, this is a battle the campaigners can probably  win.
Nantes Airport ?     The answer is NO.

The world is sliding towards a frightening climate crisis, but our politicians continue to speak a dead language.   People who defend the project of an airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes are imagining the future with words from a past which will never exist again.  

They are the heirs of those who stood behind the Maginot line waiting for the German army only to be submerged by General Guderian’s tanks in just one night in May 1940.   In the same way, they are mistaken, because they take one epoch for another.  

If it weren’t so serious, we might be tempted to laugh at the promoters’ arguments concerning the new airport.   Like Toinette in Molière’s play, Le Malade Imaginaire, who replies &lquot;the lungs&rquot; to every question about Argan’s health, they repeat &lquot;growth&rquot;, &lquot;growth&rquot;, &lquot;growth&rquot;, as if hypnotised.

They don’t know, because they will never know, that our planet has already reached its physical limits in most of its vital domains, one of which is transport. In a finite world, only the dangerously blind are still advocating the destruction of spaces and species.

The question of an airport is neither to the political right nor to the left. It’s a question of humanity and that’s why we’re taking possession of it.   Elsewhere in the world, Heathrow being a good example, people like us have decided to act. We represent hope, while politicians – all of them, from Jean-Marc Ayrault, Mayor of Nantes, to our current Prime Minister, François Fillon, –     represent only renunciation.

Politicians invariably repeat that we are living beyond our means, and that the good times are over.   Proximity to a hospital has apparently become an intolerable luxury: thus 250 will be closed; but an airport used to travel to Mediterranean beaches is an ineluctable necessity, a public interest.     Economics walks on its head.   It’s more than time for people to take back control of their destiny.

We know that this fight will be long and difficult.   That’s why, we are launching an appeal to all of France, to all of United Kingdom, and to the whole of Europe.

We must support the movement against the airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, against the Heathrow extension with all our force, and with means rarely used on the scale that we envisage; occupation of the site, civil disobedience, total and definitive refusal.

There can be no compromise because this is an ongoing fight for a life that is possible as opposed to a nightmare that is sure, and it concerns everyone.   We will win, not because we are the strongest but because there is no other solution.

We appeal to all those who are against the expansion of air traffic to stand by each other in order to gather strength around a mutual fight.

Whether here, or there, in Nantes, this frantic political race for economical development which heads straight to disaster must be stopped.


ADECA,   Confédération paysanne 44,     Inhabitants who resist. on May 31st, 2008.


    L’aéroport Grand Ouest est un projet d’aéroport internationnal dont l’implantation est prévue sur la commune de Notre-Dame-des-Landes en Loire-atlantique.  Cet aéroport doit remplacer celui de Nantes-Atlantique qui ne peut plus s’agrandir. Étant donné la croissance du traffic aérien dans l’ouest de la France  (+ 5  % par an) et la faible capacité d’accueil des aéroports environnants il a été décidé la construction d’un aéroport d’une capacité de 4 millions de passagers dès l’ouverture et de 9 millions à terme. Le décret d’utilité publique à été signé le 10  février 2008, les travaux doivent débuter en 2012 pour une ouverture prévue en 2015    Le coût de l’aéroport est estimé à 580 millions d’euros (hors taxes) en 2006(contre 480 en 2002)

Non à l’Aéroport à Notre-Dame des Landes (44)   (Nov 2006)

Sortons d’un projet sans avenir  !


Projet de Notre Dame des Landes  : 18 octobre – 30 novembre Donnez votre avis  !

L’enquête publique sur un nouvel aéroport à Notre Dame des Landes est ouverte depuis le 18 octobre et jusqu’au 30 novembre 2006 inclus.

Il est IMPORTANT de consulter le dossier, de déposer nos remarques, d’émettre des contre-propositions.


L’utilité du projet n’est pas démontrée

-    L’aéroport de Nantes Atlantique n’est pas saturé et ne le sera vraisemblablement jamais  :

  • la piste fonctionne au tiers de sa capacité, l’aérogare pourra s’agrandir, la saturation des parkings peut être résolue (étages, arrivée du tramway, ligne de train)  ;

-    S’il s’agit de limiter ou d’éviter le survol de l’agglomération nantaise, des solutions alternatives sont proposées  :

  • répartition du trafic en un réseau aéroportuaire de l’Ouest  ;
  • réaménagement de Nantes Atlantique  : remplacement de la piste actuelle orientée Nord-Sud par une nouvelle piste unique orientée Est-Ouest  ;
  • développement des lignes TGV.

Les solutions alternatives doivent etre étudiées.

La nocivite du projet est evidente

-    Fragilisation de l’emploi au sud Loire, et notamment du site Airbus  ;

-    Déplacements quotidiens de milliers personnes habitant sud Loire pour aller travailler nord Loire dans les entreprises délocalisées  ; -    Augmentation des impôts locaux des habitants du département, de la région sur plusieurs générations pour un tel investissement, pas du tout assuré d’être rentable  ; -    Gaspillage d’un budget de plusieurs centaines de millions d’€ (quelques milliards en incluant les voies ferrées) au détriment d’autres choix pour le département et la région  ; -    Ajout d’une nouvelle structure à N.D. des Landes qui sera coûteuse en fonctionnement alors que Nantes Atlantique continuera de fonctionner (pour EADS) et que de nombreux aéroports de l’Ouest sont actuellement sous-utilisés et coûtent très cher à la collectivité  ; -    Destruction de plus de 2000 hectares de terres agricoles et naturelles, une zone de biodiversité exceptionnelle comme il n’en existe plus dans le département  ; -    Destruction d’une agriculture prospère  : suppression de 40 exploitations agricoles, amputation de 40 autres, démantèlement des réseaux d’entraide  ; -    Impact du transport aérien sur l’effet de serre

Pourquoi cette fuite en avant pour un projet dépassé  ?

Selon la Commission européenne, «  une véritable politique des transports aériens doit harmoniser l’activité des aéroports et non pas en favoriser certains en réalisant des investissements coûteux   »

Pourquoi cette course vers le «  toujours plus   »  ? Cette logique nous a menés dans l’impasse où nous nous trouvons aujourd’hui. Elle doit être remplacée au plus vite par une autre logique marquée par le respect de l’homme, de tous les êtres, de la nature.

Que la réflexion autour de ce projet marque un réel changement de cap  !

Les paroles ne suffisent pas, nous avons ici l’occasion d’agir.


AVIS D’ENQUETES PUBLIQUES Les enquêtes publiques conjointes préalables concernent la déclaration d’utilité publique des travaux nécessaires

  • à la réalisation du projet d’aéroport du Grand-Ouest Notre-Dame-des-Landes
  • à sa desserte routière
  • ainsi qu’à la mise en compatibilité des documents d’urbanisme des communes de Fay-de-Bretagne, Grandchamp-des-Fontaines, Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Treillières et Vigneux-de-Bretagne .

On peut lire le dossier du projet et donner son avis  :

  • à la préfecture de Loire-Atlantique (siège de l’enquête),
  • dans les sous-préfectures d’Ancenis, Chateaubriant, Saint-Nazaire,
  • et dans les communes de  : Blain, Bouée, Bouvron, Casson, La Chapelle-Sur-Erdre, Cordemais, Fay-De Bretagne, Grandchamp-Des-Fontaines, Heric, Malville, Nantes, Nort-Sur-Erdre, Notre-Dame Des-Landes, Orvault, Saint-Etienne-De-Montluc, Sautron, Savenay, Suce-Sur-Erdre, Le Temple De Bretagne, Treillieres, Vigneux De Bretagne.

Des observations peuvent également être adressées par écrit à  :

M.  le Président de la Commission d’enquête publique du projet d’aéroport du Grand-Ouest Notre Dame des Landes Préfecture de la Loire-Atlantique Direction de l’aménagement et de l’environnement Bureau de l’urbanisme et des sites 6, quai Ceineray – B.P. 33515 – 44035 NANTES CEDEX 1

On peut télécharger le dossier de l’enquête sur le site de la préfecture  :

Projet de Notre Dame des Landes  : 18 octobre – 30 novembre
Donnez votre avis  !
Pétition NON au projet d’aéroport de Notre Dame des landes
Enquête publique  : Sortons d’un projet sans avenir
Aéroport de Notre-dame des Landes, juin 2006 Tract A4 recto/verso, format paysage plié.



Associations et fédérations composant la Coordination  :
ACIPA, ADECA, 9Association de Défense des Exploitants Concernés par l’Aéroport).    A l’Est de l’Erdre, Les Alternatifs 44, ANDE, Bien Vivre à Vigneux, Bretagne vivante, Confédération paysanne, FNAUT, Greenpeace 44, Les Verts 44, LPO, Malice, Nature Avenir, Solidarités Ecologie et l’UDES. Avec le soutien de  : ATTAC 44, Cohérence, Eau et Rivières de Bretagne, France Nature Environnement, GAB, Les Verts, Robin des bois, CIVAM, Sortir du Nucléaire Loire et Vilaine, UDPN 44 et WWF.   -ACIPA website   (lots of info in French, and there is the option of English translation)