The LGV Bordeaux–Toulouse is an approximately 200 km long French high-speed rail project reserved for passenger traffic between Bordeaux and Toulouse in the south-west of France. Its dual aim is:See more...
• To ensure high-speed service of the Toulouse region through an extension of the LGV Sud Europe Atlantique and reduce the journey time between Paris and Toulouse to slightly over 3 hours. To complete that service though, the high speed connection between Tours and Bordeaux has to be completed as well.
• In a more distant and less defined future, to be part of a proposed "Southern Link", connecting the Atlantic and Mediterranean from Bordeaux to Nice via Toulouse, Montpellier and Marseille.
On the 23rd of October 2013, Frédéric Cuvillier, Minister for Transport, unveiled the final route. The completion of the high speed line between Toulouse and Bordeaux enrolled in phase I of the Great South West Rail project (GPSO) and must be performed in 2024, together with the branch to Dax. The first phase, the amount of which is estimated at € 9.1 billion, is the subject of a public inquiry in the first half of 2014, a prerequisite for obtaining the declaration of public utility (DUP). The DUP was indeed obtained in 2014. Subsequently, the commencing of the works was scheduled for 2017.
As part of the plan, two new LGV rail station will be constructed near Montauban, and Agen. Apart from these two towns where there will be stations, some villages in the Lot-et-Garonne will be affected with the project concerning a total of 92 council areas included in 4 different departments.
The most important environmental and social impacts to be caused by the project according to the opposition are the ones that follow:
- Urbanization of lands: between 3,000 and 4,800 hectares depending on the source.
- Severe impacts on 80 km of forest that the line will go through and other 96 sites of ecological importance.
- Ecological fragmentation.
- Negative impact on the duration of local displacements.
- Noise pollution.
- Destruction of 421 buildings located on areas to be affected by the project.
The protesters argue that an upgrade of the existing rail link running North through Limoges would be a lower cost and less disruptive solution. They consider the new line will be, apart from environmentally harmful, ruinously expensive, at a time when public sector budgets are already stretched to breaking point.
In late December of 2014, emulating other environmental struggles across France such as Notre-Dame-des-Landes and Testet, several activists created the ZAD of Agen/ Sainte-Colombe-en-Bruilhois. The area has been designated to host the construction of one of the new high speed railway stations along with further urban development accounting for a total of 280 hectares of outstanding quality of arable land. The activists demand an unconditional moratorium and the start of an inclusive public debate on land management.
The latest news on the project is that a commission of enquiry report has emitted an unfavourable conclusion on the project due to mainly the underestimation of costs and impacts of the project. Such verdict reinforces the opposition views.