vendredi 26 octobre 2018

General Council / Dominique Bussereau: “The wind farm projects could sound the death knell for the development of tourism in the region.”

Ce qui suit est une traduction à l'intention de nos amis anglophones de l'article paru le 23 octobre dernier tiré du blog de Nicole Bertin; elle a été réalisée à titre gracieux par un membre  de notre association DDME. Nous l'en remercions vivement.
Nicole Bertin’s blog, Nicole Bertin Infos, recently published an article on the October 22 meeting of the General Council of the Charente-Maritime. We encourage our readers to subscribe to her blog, which is an excellent source of information related to the political scene, culture and economy of the Charente-Maritime.  She has been ‘front row and centre’ concerning the situation which most worries members of the DDME and which we are battling with all our forces: the EDF-R wind farm project along the right bank of the estuary of the Gironde.
Find the original blog article in French HERE

The following is a translation of the article that appeared in Nicole Bertin Infos:

22 October 2018
He already said it the other day at Saint-Sorlin-de-Conac (and well before that, as Jean-Marc Bouffard, Mayor of Saint-Georges-de-Didonne, reminded us), and said it again Monday morning at the opening of a new session of the General Council. Dominique Bussereau [President of the General Council of the Charente-Maritime] is against the further development of wind farms in the region, stressing that “we’re already beyond the threshold of what’s acceptable.”
Monday 22 October, Opening of a new session of the County Council of Charente-Maritime
Addressing his colleagues assembled at La Rochelle, Dominique Bussereau reminded them of his opposition to the surge of wind farm projects in the Charente-Maritime. He is concerned that they will lead to the destruction of the regional landscape. Inspired by what Regional President Xavier Bertrand has done in the Hauts-de-France, Bussereau has launched a Wind Farm Watchdog Group (L’Observatoire de l’éolien) for the Charente-Maritime. Its mission is to inventory the numerous projects, inform the public, seek help if necessary, and, above all, “prevent what’s unacceptable.” He is backed in his battle by Regio Councillors Lionel Quillet (L’Ile de Ré), Marie-Pierre and Didier Quentin (Royan), Françoise de Roffignac (Cozes), Loïc Girard (Gémozac), Marie-Christine Bureau and Bernard Louis Joseph (Mirambeau and Pons), among others.

Among those present, one elected official did not share Bussereau’s point of view: Guy Denier, Mayor of Périgny and General Councillor of the Aytré. He questioned the need for such a watchdog group given that the country is transitioning to new sources of energy, saying, “I don’t believe it’s a wise decision.” He feels the efforts of the watchdog group would add another layer to the ‘systematic’ resistance already underway by associations and private individuals. He reminded the General Council of the ‘pressing necessity’ of seeking new energy sources. As a result, he felt that “the watchdog group would be more helpful if it changed its tone...”

Dominique Bussereau was quick to reply. This watchdog group is being established to inform the public regarding wind farm projects underway, which are often hidden by certain ‘swindlers’ who have managed to convince both farmers and mayors via the cold, jingling sound of money. “We have reached a threshold in the Charente-Maritime.” President Bussereau went even further, saying, “these wind farm projects are sounding the death knoll for the development of tourism.” He added that, in France, we have not figured out how to dispose of these wind turbines once they’ve reached the end of their life cycle, and that the sand used to produce the tons of concrete necessary to anchor the turbines in the ground would need to be dredged off the coast of Mathes.

If EDF-Renouvelables’ plan is to destroy the natural areas situated along the banks of the estuary, there will be many who will voice their opposition loud and clear. Today, when the region is planning on launching pleasure cruises on the estuary, and when the Cordouan Lighthouse and Blaye Citadel are awaiting their classification by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, the proposed wind farm project along the estuary is understandably of concern. Dominique Bussereau is not against the construction of wind turbines in places suitable for them. But in the Charente-Maritime, where the Aunis area is already invaded by wind farms, he clearly says: STOP: “Certain town councillors don’t give a damn about their residents, and use the excuse that the wind project promoters have promised the municipalities a significant source of revenue. This Watchdog Group is not a gimmick!”

Sharing this position are Loïc Girard and Dominique Marion, Director of the Ferme de la Gravelle [an organic farm and campsite] in Mortagne. Forty years ago, he fought against the building of the nuclear power plant at Braud-et-Saint-Louis; today he is fighting the wind farm project along the estuary. Alongside environmentalists, numerous local players are also opposed, first and foremost the hunters. Is the project destined to fail? Many are hopeful this is the case, as the estuary of the Gironde is a sanctuary and important stopping ground for migratory birds; an ecosystem that continues to be passionately studied by Raphaël Musseau, a graduate of the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, and today Director of BioSphère Environnement in Mortagne.

As for Jean-Claude Godineau, General Councillor of Saint-Jean-d’Angély, he admitted that, indeed, his region is saturated by wind turbines…

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