LGV Bretagne train line, France

New high-speed railroad in Brittany could not be prevented by local EJOs, that complained about noise pollution, vibration, cracked houses, stress at train passages, disturbed sleep, health risks, homes devaluation. At least compensations were granted.


This project of train line costruction LGV Bretagne, anchored in the European high speed dynamic, was launched in 2012 and is in operation since 2017. The purpose is to significantly improve the service to the touristic regions Brittany and the Pays de la Loire and to improve their accessibility. The high-speed rail road (up to 350km/h) is 182km long and reduces traveling time Paris - Rennes by 37 minutes. The costs of the project were 3 Billion Euros (Chauvot 2017). 

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Basic Data
NameLGV Bretagne train line, France
ProvinceBretagne, Pays de la Loire
SiteLe Mans, Sablé-sur-Sarthe, Laval, Rennes
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesLand
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe estimated cost of the project were between 3.3 and 3.4 billion euros and at the end of the project (in 2017), it was still valued at 3 billion euros (Chauvot 2017). Within the project there are three partners all of which have a share of around one third.

In terms of State participation, this project is part of the infrastructure projects selected in the „Grenelle Environnement“ framework, which established RFF (French State-owned firm that owned and maintained French national railway network, while the trains were operated by SNCF, the national railway company. From 1 January 2015, RFF became SNCF Réseau, the operational assets of SNCF became SNCF Mobilités, and both groups were placed under the control of SNCF (SNCF Réseau, 2015).

Another share of around one third is awarded in the frame of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to Eiffage Rail Express, a subsidiary of the Eiffage group, associated with the engineering firms Setec and Ingerop for the design missions. The partnership contract was signed on July 28, 2011 to build and maintain LGV for 25 years. Eiffage will advance one-third of the investment and will in return receive fixed rents from RFF and now SNCF for 25 years, which will operate the line and collect the tolls paid by the operator.

The third partner are the regions Brittany and (90.5% Brittany / 9.5% Pays de la Loire). Overall the state invested € 1,093.4 million from the "Grenelle de l'environnement" + € 15 million from the recovery plan. The regions spent € 1,110.4m, of which € 896m for LGV and € 214.4m for extensions to Brest and Quimper, French rail network invested € 1,183.2.
Project Area (in hectares)2,300
Level of Investment (in USD)3 billion euros (for line and for prolongation and modernization of the rails)
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Populationlocal population on this rail road
Start Date27/07/2012
End Date02/07/2017
Company Names or State EnterprisesSNCF
Relevant government actors• Territorial governments of Brittany and others regions concerned

• Government and the Grenelle Environment Forum
International and Financial InstitutionsFrench government from France
Territorial governments
RFF (réseau ferré de France)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFédération ALTO (Alternative to the new West TGV lines)

French Archaeologist Society

Representation of the interests of residents of the LGV Paris-Rennes, Brittany and Pays de la Loire
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
OtherNoise pollution, Vibration
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of livelihood, Other socio-economic impacts
Othercracked houses, devaluation of homes
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of AlternativesThe thirty associations in the Alto federation (Alternatives to the new TGV West lines) have always advocated for an alternative solution: the renovation of the existing rail roads. This would have coasted 400 million euros, instead of 3 billion and the renovation would have been much quicker than constructing a new rail road (Lautrou 2008).
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The various associations represented by the Fédération ALTO Alto could not prevent this project and the new railroad is operating since July 2017. At least, sustainability was a major criterion for the project developers and environmental impacts were prevented and reduced. In many cases also compensation was granted to the people affected.
Sources and Materials

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Article dealing with the noise pollution and other claims made by the resistance groups of the high-speed rail road
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Article about mobilization
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Interesting article about local EJO opposing the high-speed rail road.
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Press Communique of the EJO
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Media Links

Petition at Change.org dealing with several issues around this high-speed rail road: noise pollution, vibration, cracked houses, stress at train passages, disturbed sleep, health in danger, devaluation of homes, upset daily life
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Other Documents

federation alto Logo of the resistance group
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Manifestation II
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Meta Information
ContributorGabriel Weber (with the help of students), [email protected]
Last update25/01/2018