Brétignolles-sur-mer, France



The creation and the development of a marina in the town of Brétignolles-Sur-Mer threaten coastal ecosystems, currents, the rupture of the dune and seabed, as well as marine fauna and flora. Read our open letter HERE!



In 2003, the town of Brétignolles-sur-Mer launched a construction project for a large marina on the bed of the Normandelière Stream in the area behind the dunes. This comes as a response to the high demand for marina mooring spaces all across France and it is expected to support economic development in the region. The project involves multiple installations: the development of an artificial pleasure port and a marina. In addition, semi-submerged artificial reefs are responsible for securing the entrance to the port. The creation of an aber (valley of water invaded by the sea) and a dock (rectangular basin for the reception artificial racing boats are planned. A landscaped park is also contemplated along the aber. Finally, various urban developments such as the creation of a port access road or parking are also part of the project.

There was significant mobilization against this project. Surfrider Foundation Europe stalls were run during cultural events such as the music festival ‘La 7e Vague' (The 7th Wave). The Keeper and the Indre-et-Loire Chapter took advantage of this and other events to make people aware of environmental issues, and in particular the marina construction project. In cooperation with the association La Vigie, the Keeper participated in numerous demonstrations, one of which took the shape of a human chain on Normandelière Beach to symbolically visualize the planned port access channel, and how it would impact on the area. During the public consultations, Surfrider and the Keeper gave a detailed account of their arguments against this marina. We produced a complete dossier on the impacts of the project on water quality and health, and on the areas used for activities and leisure.

The 19th of December 2011 was an important date in the campaign as the public consultations commission issued a report against the project based on the arguments that we had provided. Surfrider, the Defender and the Indre-et-Loire Chapter will remain vigilant until the project is abandoned for good. Only the prefect of Vendée can still invalidate this decision.


Since 2008, we affirm our position at various events organized by the association collective, including La Vigie and with the support of the Antenne Indre-et-Loire, under the responsibility of Sylvain, the Coastal Defender. During the public inquiry, Surfrider Foundation Europe detailed its arguments against the creation of this port by filing a complete file on the impacts generated by the project on the quality of water, the health of users and on the coastal environment. The following associations are also fighting against this project: Local associations La Vigie, CPNS, the National League for the Protection of Birds, France Nature Environment, are mobilizing to alert the population about the impacts of such a project.


The project would cause numerous impacts on the coastline and the environment, including modifications to currents and the seabed, destruction of the marine fauna and flora, the rupture of the dune range to build a channel allowing boats access to the marina, the destruction of the wetland area and its biotope, the filling of groundwater supplies, the destruction of geological rock strata with explosives, etc.


2003: the project is submitted to informal consultation with the population of Brétignolles-Sur-Mer. The results rather favorable to the realization of the port (67%) are thus largely to be qualified. Since local residents have formed an association to fight against this project.

2008: The Gauthier report of the General Council of Bridges and Roads on the development of marinas did not consider the project of the port of Normandelière as relevant. Many aspects of the project seem disturbing because of their impacts on the environment.

December 19, 2011, will remain an important date in our fight since the commission of inquiry has made an unfavorable report including our arguments.

June 7, 2013: presentation of the "new" port project by the Mayor, which of course has nothing new. La Vigie and the Préfet have lodged an appeal on the sale of the lands of La Ferme de La Normandelière.

In 2017, the community of communes of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie revives the debate with public consultation.

In 2018, Surfrider responds to the public inquiry by strongly opposing the project.

In November 2018, the commission of inquiry deliberately ignored the many arguments of local and environmental associations, preferring to insist on the arguments of the owner. It would seem, therefore, that economic interests prevail over environmental interests. The positioning of this report and its conclusions appear to be of a political nature, in total contradiction with the environmental regulations.


It is now 10 years since Surfrider Europe has been following this construction project with its Indre-et-Loire antenna. Naturally, given the negative environmental impact that the project would generate, Surfrider is against.

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Coastal Development
and Climate Change

Coastal erosion, rising water levels, maritime transport, offshore platforms: the health of our coasts and oceans is permanently under threat.

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