France

France

Scallop fishermen protest at Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm

Iberdrola’s offshore wind project off the Brittany coast has been beset by an oil leak and protesting fishermen – updated

Scallop fishers protesting at the site of the Saint-Brieuc wind farm (Pic credit: Préfecture maritime et commandement en chef Atlantique)
Scallop fishers protesting at the site of the Saint-Brieuc wind farm (Pic credit: Préfecture maritime et commandement en chef Atlantique)

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Iberdrola plans to pursue legal action against fishermen who protested against the 496MW Saint Brieuc Saint Brieuc (496MW) Offshoreoff Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, France, Europe Click to see full details wind farm by surrounding a construction vessel and setting off flares.

Protesters had targeted the English Channel site off Brittany in May, according to Ouest France, and have returned today (24 June).

Iberdrola alleges that scallop fishermen crossed a security perimeter set by the maritime prefecture around Van Oord’s Aethra construction vessel, subjected workers to verbal and physical threats and endangered sailors’ safety by setting off flares.

A spokesperson for Ailes  Marine – Saint-Brieuc’s developer, which is wholly owned by Iberdrola – said: “Ailes Marines believes that professional fishermen are free to express their dissatisfaction and to demonstrate. However, Ailes Marines finds that an unacceptable line has been crossed today.”

In order to avoid interfering with the local scallop fishing season, which finished at the end of April, offshore construction began in May.

But it was temporarily halted earlier this month, after Van Oord’s jack-up vessel spilled hydraulic fluid into the sea. The vessel was drilling and installing foundation piles at the site.

Iberdrola expects Saint-Brieuc to be online in 2023.

But since it was successful at auction in 2012, the project has faced opposition from the fishing industry, environmental groups and local politicians, who have claimed it would damage the ecosystem and lead to job losses.

France’s highest administrative court rejected an appeal against the project last December, paving the way for construction to start.

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