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France

France

Nuclear and oil interests blamed for wind project stop at Le Havre

Mystery surrounds a decision by the port authority of Le Havre not to allow a wind farm to be built on the cliffs above Antifer oil terminal on the north Normandy coast, the Côte d'Albatre. SIIF-Energies plans to erect five turbines near St Jouin Bruneval, on a site where wind speeds average more than 7 m/s. The project has a site permit and initially the port authority, which owns the site, gave its approval. Later it retracted the permit. The authority explains that it "wants to reaffirm its commitment to sustainable development" and that the Antifer terminal is "of strategic public interest for the supply of hydrocarbons to France." It had to turn down SIIF-Energies wind farm application, the Le Havre authority adds, "to optimise without limitations Havre-Antifer's reception of tankers." Green campaigners allege that it was the combined weight of the nuclear and oil industries, both with a strong presence on the Cote d'Albatre, that led to the authority's decision not to associate itself with a renewable energy source. Another project on the same coast, at Fécamp, has been stalled for two years, ostensibly by campaigners keen to conserve the landscape, but powerful vested interests have also been blamed. According to Fécamp town hall "there are 5000 pylons coming out of the two nuclear plants nearby and we want to erect five turbines."

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