Le Camp Climat concept is taking off over the channel, just as it is in the UK. Activists campaigning against the proposed construction of a new airport 16 kilometres north of Nantes (Loire-Atlantique, 44) have announced a camp from the 3 - 9 August 2009.
The airport plans—a "hub" for north-west France—have a 30 year history. The proposed airport will concrete over 2000 hectares of traditional bocage: pastoral land divided by traditional hedgerows. By contrast Britain's second busiest airport Gatwick occupies a site of only 300 hectares. And all this despite 3 airports already operational (Nantes, Angers, Rennes) within 100 kilometres of the proposed site. None of the existing airports operate anywhere near full capacity, nor will they in the future if current air ticket sales continue their present downward trend.
Despite being beyond any reasonable concept of utility, the pharaonique project rolls forward, with forced sales of farms, homes, and land. Surveys and geological sampling of the site began in October 2008.
Opposition to the project is centred on two main organisations: the Camp Climat, and a coalition that unites resident groups called ACIPA, which has long pursued a civil campaign amongst the French bureaucracy.
As the threat becomes more imminent, many acts of resistance have already occurred: with tractor roadblocks and sabotage of survey works. A visiting official from the prefecture, come to announce the loss of land and homes, was flanned. The survey workers now work alongside an escort of up to sixty gendarmes. Eight activists face fines of up to 15,000 euros and sentences of 2 - 4 months for their part in the resistance.
The basic principles of the autonomous camp will be: a minimal ecological footprint, strong local links, strong media impact, educational activities and exchanges, development of networks, and communal living with food at prix libre (contribute as you can afford). The camp forms part of a week of resistance at the site with a music festival on the 1 August, and an annual local picnic on the 2 August.
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