Côtes d'Armor, France


This project consists of extracting 400,000 cubic metres of shell sand annually over a period of 20 years, i.e. a total of 8 million cubic metres, from an underwater dune situated at the “Pointe de Lannion”. This location is at less than one kilometre from two Natura 2000 sites. The coveted site is a preferred habitat of sand eels, which numerous marine bird species and fish feed on and who would suddenly find themselves threatened.  The project would devastate an area which is being frequented by ten thousand people every year. Thus, it may pose real risks to the environment but also impact on tourism, water sports, and fishing activities.

In March 2012, the collective Le Peuple des Dunes en Trégor  (The people of the Trégor Dunes), association in which the Keeper, Alain, is involved, challenged the project by highlighting the many risks associated with such ventures.

Despite the project being incomplete, it was subject to a public inquiry in 2010, the outcome of which was presented to the Prefect of the Finistère Department. Against all expectations, the Prefect gave the go-ahead.  In response, concerned local politicians from the communities bordering onto the site and the communes of the towns Lannion/Trégor, who all wish for the entire Lannion Bay to be classed as a Natura 2000 site, expressed their opposition. In May 2012, following an appeal for citizen mobilisation, 4,500 people rallied on Tresmeur Beach to demonstrate against the project. An online petition opposing the project was launched and received 12,000 signatures. Thanks to this strong mobilisation, Alain and his collective were able to enter into discussions with the highest State authorities, including M. Cuvillier, the French Minister for Transport and Maritime Economy, in October 2012.

Throughout the winter of 2012-13, the Keeper conveyed information on his battle by use of the print media and television. This media attention resulted in a guest appearance of the Keeper in the film 'Sand Wars: An Investigative Documentary' by Denis Délestrac, which was broadcast on Arte.  To review the issue on marine aggregate extraction and the lack of response from the Minister at the cut-off date, which was the 15th of March 2013 (implying an 'implicit rejection' of the project), the Keeper and the collective organised a mediatised round table on the 12th of July 2013. Moreover, in April 2013 and backed by three MEPs, the collective referred to the Committee on Petitions in Brussels evoking the irreversible and exorbitant harm likely to be inflicted on the two Natura 2000 zones.

For further information, you can consult the website of the collective 'The People of the Trégor Dunes or the association's blog Trébeurden-Patrimoine-Environnement.

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