France vows to go ahead with plans for wind farm that will ‘ desecrate D – Day …

June 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

  • EDF wants to build 75 100m-tall turbines along Normandy coast
  • Campaigners brand plans ‘insult to memory of thousands who died there’
  • EDF hopes they will all be ready by 2015, generating six gigawatts a year

By
Ian Sparks

05:09 EST, 14 June 2013


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06:10 EST, 14 June 2013

France is moving ahead with plans to ‘desecrate’ the World War Two D-Day beaches with a vast offshore wind farm.

The proposed 75 turbines each 100 metres high have been branded by campaigners as ‘an insult to the memory of the thousands who died there’.

French electricity giant EDF aims to install the giant white towers – almost twice as high as St Paul’s Cathedral – just eight miles offshore and easily visible from two of the five memorial beaches on the Normandy coast.

Eye sore: The proposed 75 turbines each 100 metres high have been branded by campaigners as 'an insult to the memory of the thousands who died there' (stock image)

Eye sore: The proposed 75 turbines each 100 metres high have been branded by campaigners as ‘an insult to the memory of the thousands who died there’ (stock image)

The turbines will be divided among five separate offshore wind farms along the coast, covering a total of 330 square miles and costing around ten million pounds.

One proposed site is a 48 square mile wind farm off the coast of the Courseulles-sur-Mer – home to Juno Beach where hundreds of Royal Marines commandos and Canadian Infantry perished during the June 6, 1944, invasion.

It would also be visible from nearby Omaha Beach, where US forces suffered more than 2,000 casualties during the operation.

EDF hopes the wind farms should all be operational by 2015, generating six gigawatts, or 3.5 per cent of France’s energy needs, per year.

American soldiers land on the French coast in Normandy during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.

Terror: American soldiers land on the French coast in Normandy during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. Thousands of British, American and Canadian soldiers died in the assault

Landing: British commando troops land on Normandy beaches, during the D-Day landings, June 6, 1944. The wind farms will be visible from Juno and Omaha beaches

Landing: British commando troops land on Normandy beaches, during the D-Day landings, June 6, 1944. The wind farms will be visible from Juno and Omaha beaches

It is is part of a strategy to make renewable energy account for almost a quarter of France’s needs by around 2030.

Opponent Claude Brevan, who is heading a campaign to axe the project, said Juno beach where Canadian soldiers landed would suffer the worst blight.

Sword, Gold, Omaha and Utah beaches where British and American troops landed would be less affected, she said.

But Jean-Louis Butre, president of the European Platform Against Wind Farms, said: ‘We consider this project to be a sacrilege on the families of the 10,000 soldiers who sacrificed their lives to save France from tyranny.’

World War Two widow Gisele Forknall told a campaign meeting this week: ‘We owe it to these soldiers, to these veterans who were dog-tired but had the courage to land, to respect the freedom that they gave us.

'Desecration'? Colleville Sur Mere Cemetry, where thousands of heroes are buried, is visible from Omaha beach, in the distance

‘Desecration’? Colleville Sur Mere Cemetry, where thousands of heroes are buried, is visible from Omaha beach, in the distance

‘Windmills are OK, but just not here. There has been too much blood spilt.’

Briton William Jordan, who offers guided tours of the area, said: ‘To imagine the events of June 6, 1944 when thousands of Allied vessels arrived one needs an empty horizon like a painter needs an empty canvas.’

Opponent Karel Scheerlinck, who lives near Juno Beach, added: ‘These beaches belong to history. It’s from here that the liberation of the world began.

‘It is an insult to the dead and don’t think the Germans would permit the construction of a wind park next to the ruins of a concentration camp. These are sacred areas.’

But former local councillor Anne d’Ornano said she had met with Canadian veterans who were not opposed to the project.

Normandy remembered: The turbines will be divided among five separate offshore wind farms along the coast where thousands of allied soldiers perished

Normandy remembered: The turbines will be divided among five separate offshore wind farms along the coast where thousands of allied soldiers perished in June 1944, covering a total of 330 square miles and costing around ten million pounds

She said: ‘They believe in the future. They have offshore wind farms in their countries. They are thinking about future generations. They just want their regiment’s insignia to be there somewhere as a sign of homage.’

And Adrian Cox, a British councillor in Arromanches-les-Bains, said: ‘I have received outraged emails asking, ‘How can they have windmills on the beaches?’

‘But two years ago I met a veteran who looked around and then he said ‘This is not my beach anyway. When I landed these buildings were not there’. Now my friends are buried underneath them’.’

Jacky Bonnemains, president of French ecological group Robin des Bois, said the project was launched two years ago: ‘I find it extraordinary no one in government grasps that this will change forever the character of a place of sacred memory. They just don’t seem to care.’

But EDF Energy insists the impact on the view from the Normandy beaches will be ‘limited’.

It claims that a 525ft-high tower seen from almost ten miles away is equivalent to seeing a matchstick from a metre away.

A French government spokesman added: ‘The whole project is being handled with the greatest sensitivity.’

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

crap – i am going to stop ready dm

john
,

chatham, United Kingdom,
15/6/2013 00:36

Do some of you actually read the articles or just start foaming at the mouth at the headline. It’s miles away from the beach. This is just another attempt by the DM to wind up “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”. For Christ’s sake read the article.

reggie
,

ipswich, United Kingdom,
14/6/2013 21:39

France own their own land as they were liberated. It is up to them what they chose to do with their own land. A lot of good people died to help to liberate France. We have no right to tell them what to do with this land.

keith
,

Northampton,
14/6/2013 21:39

The French can and will do what ever the see fit, my dad was wounded on D day on sword beach and I see no disrespect being shown here! only snide journalism.

steven smith
,

southampton,
14/6/2013 21:39

They are not graves so how on earth can there be anything sacred about these beaches. Wars have been faught and armies slaughtered all over Britain and Europe and evey battle site cannot be hallowed, nothing would ever get done. We have all the memorials we need and also need to stop all this living in the past and reliving past glories.

bar
,

notts,
14/6/2013 21:39

We’ve got 130 off the North Kent coast in 2 arrays. I’m not sure how far out they are, I guess that they are probably a similar distance. They are very visible from the shore though. I played a round of golf last week. The course occupies a beautiful cliff top setting and yet the skyline is dominated by 100 turbines. Not the most attractive view anymore.

Bonzer Bogan
,

Kent, United Kingdom,
14/6/2013 21:39

yep and im sure they will be exporting the electricity to us to keep our lights on

BC
,

Gloucester, United Kingdom,
14/6/2013 18:40

Yes, It is a disgrace but no more than our own Government erecting the blasted things all over our own green and pleasant land.

Bert
,

Millwall,
14/6/2013 18:10

How far do we go back – 1066, Agincourt, Battle of Bosworth WWI?

I think we have enough memorabilia from European wars to keep the History Channel going for ever. We need energy now.

David
,

Pwllheli, United Kingdom,
14/6/2013 17:55

In spite of our regular almost daily “diet” about WW2, let’s try not to make every issue one about international
conflict, after all, the building of wind farms along the French coast is really France’s perogative.

john
,

crewe,
14/6/2013 17:46

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