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ZAD at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Aeroport du Grand Ouest, France

A Zone to Defend, the controversial airport project in Western France became a symbol of resistance and alternative proposals. On 17 January 2018 the French government gave up, the Zadistes won.


A great triumph of the Zadistes when on 17 January 2018. Prime Minister  Edouard Philippe announced that the airport project of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, was given up, definitively suspended. The resistance over many years gave rise to a new word in French, "zone à defendre", ZAD. The zadistes around the world congratulate themselves on this victory won at a cost of great sacrifices. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:ZAD at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Aeroport du Grand Ouest, France
State or province:Pays de la Loire - Brittany
Location of conflict:Notre-Dame-des-landes
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Capacity will be up to 5 million passengers per year.

Project area:1650
Level of Investment for the conflictive project722620000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:2000
Company names or state enterprises:Vinci Group (Vinci) from France
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Establishment of a postcapitalist protest camp
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (undecided)
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:It was suggested by ACIPA to refurbish and enlarge the exisiting airport Nantes-Atlantique instead of building a new one. This assertion is supported by the the report issued in 2011 by the consultancy CE Delft.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:It is a success because the project has been cancelled in January 2018. Huge mobilization, protests, squatting and legal action delayed expropriations as well as led to an indefinite postponement of the project and finally to its end.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Decree of concession of the airport facilities of the Grand Ouest region: Décret n° 2010-1699 du 29 décembre 2010 approuvant la convention passée entre l'Etat et la société concessionnaire aéroports du Grand Ouest pour la concession des aérodromes de Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Nantes-Atlantique et Saint-Nazaire - Montoir et le cahier des charges annexée cette convention.

Bill on on airport noise environment (Rapport 204, 1998-99)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Brinke, L. & Faber, J.

Review of the Social Cost-Benefit Analysis of Grand Ouest Airport

Comparison with Improvements of Nantes Atlantique. Delft, CE Delft, 2011.

Defending the zad: A new little book about the struggle against an airport and its world.
[click to view]

[click to view]

List of relevant documents (in French)
[click to view]

The Guardian article
[click to view]

BBC News article
[click to view]

[click to view]

(1) Syndacat Mixte d'études
[click to view]

[click to view]

Compilation of news: Nantes Airport News
[click to view]

France 24, 2016-02-12 - Hollande announces referendum on divisive airport project
[click to view]

Le | 11.02.2016 - Notre-Dame-des-Landes : quel périmètre pour le référendum local sur le projet d’aéroport ?
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Photographic movie: Occupy this land!
[click to view]

Demonstration on 22.02.2014 Nantes
[click to view]

Documentary: Notre Dame des Luttes
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Alfred Burballa Noria
Last update21/01/2018
Conflict ID:1117
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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