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Tours-Bordeaux LGV, France


The new LGV construction between Tours and Bordeaux is a huge project of 302 kilometers which permits many advantages. In a first place, this project has to permit a more efficient link between the territory and the European capitals like Paris, London or Amsterdam. Inaugurated in July 2017, the construction was built for 5 years as from 2012. However, a huge project like this one includes also many ecological problems and questionable ethics. 

 The first big problem is about the non-respect of ecology during the construction. Indeed, more than 223 vegetable and animal species lost their habitat during those 5 years, without any alternative for them. 

In another way, there is a European scheme certifying special natural places for protection. It is called the Natura 2000 certification. With that, it is banned to build any building or to influence the environment with human constructions for each of those places. However, during the construction, more than 400 places of Natura 2000 were touched.  Equally, many water flows were contaminated and touched. 

By the way, companies have to reacreate 3500 green hectares (Eric BEZAT, 03/01/2018).  This is a form of compensation for damages. Today, only 400 hectares were recreated.  However, this is not everything. With the new line, many trains circulate each day. It produces a lot of noise. 

In the law, it is banned to step over 60 decibelsin terms of noise. When a train circulate, it is 90 decibels, over 30 decibels above the authorized limitation (Emmanuelle OESTERLE, 07/25/2017). Every day, there ares125 round trips for the LGV which cross 113 French municipality.  This means a lot of noise for the inhabitants. (Yleanna ROBERT, 07/02/2018)

 Before the start of the construction, many demonstrations took place in the cities concerned by the LGV. During one of those demonstration, Claude Semin, director of the anti-LGV association of Caudeste said “We are confident that this project will never exist”. Unfortunately for the citizens touched, no real alternative was proposed, and the line is now in service. 

Indeed, this project, despite the problems for the citizens, has a real place in the country development. It was complicated to find a viable alternative to the Bordeaux-Toulouse new line (Pati Bulaire, 06/05/2016). The two conflicts are closely linked and the issue of Toulouse-Bordeaux was dependent of the Tours-Bordeaux one. 

However, the Tours-Bordeaux has a bigger influence on the country because of the direct connection with Paris, the French capital and business center of the country. 

 For the ecological aspect, an alternative was proposed, the construction  as a compensation of 3500 new green hectares. The associations fight for this compensation to take place.  An open-letter was written to the ex-ecological miniter Nicolas Hulot (Rédaction Langont, 03/01/2018) but no real answer was offered by the French government. The letter was about all those new green spaces and vegetation that the country needs. It insisted on the sites of Natura 2000 that would be damaged.  Many  associations qualified such projects (Tours-Bordeaux and Bordeaux.Toulouse) a the typical GPII ("grand projet inutile imposé"), and  declared themselves  « atterrées par les dommages environnementaux irréversibles qu’entraînerait la réalisation de ce grand projet inutile imposé ».   

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Tours-Bordeaux LGV, France
State or province:West France
Location of conflict:Bordeaux-Tours
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

The LGV Tours-Bordeaux is part of an extension of the TGV in France, from Tours to Bordeaux and from Bordeaux to Toulouse. It was inaugurated in 2017.It was recognised that 3,500 hectares of forest and agricultural lands would be damaged in the lign Tours-Bordeaux, and that this would be "compensated for" by new green spaces. Another main complaints was the noise produced by the high speed trains.

Project area:3,500
Level of Investment:9,000,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:113 municipalities
Start of the conflict:01/01/2017
Company names or state enterprises:Bouygues Travaux Publics from France
Vinci Construction from France
Relevant government actors:French government, Minister for the Environment.
European Union
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD)
French government from France
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Association France Nature Environnement.
Aquitaine :
Fédération SEPANSO Aquitaine (fédération regroupant 41 associations de protection de l’environnement adhérentes ou affiliées),
Fédération Aquitaine Alternatives
Occitanie :
Alternative LGV Midi-Pyrénées (regroupant 12 associations),
Association Actival
Lot-et-Garonne :
Coordination 47 (regroupant 10 associations),
Association Très Grande Vigilance en Albret,
Association Très Grande Vigilance du Bruilhois et de l’Agenais
Association de Sauvegarde des Landes et Coteaux de Gascogne
Landes :
Association Les Amis de la Terre Landes,
Association de Coordination des Citoyens et Riverains Landais (ACCRIL)
Pays Basque :
Collectif des Associations de Défense de l’Environnement (CADE) (regroupant 58 associations de défense de l’environnement du Pays basque et du sud des Landes).
Gironde :
Association Les Amis du Barthos,
Association Landes Environnement Attitude (LEA),
Association Landes Graves Palus Environnement (LGPE),
Association Sauvons notre Espace de Vie et notre Environnement (SEVE),
Association Vive la forêt,
Association Naturjalles,
Association Bassin d’Arcachon Ecologie.

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Noise pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Development of alternatives:The project was qualified by opposing nature-protection groups as a Grand Projet Inutile Imposé (GPII), like others in Europe.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Because of the non-respect for the ecological laws, the companies in charge of the construction have to rebuild 3500 green hectares. But destruction of nature is irreversible, and the noise and other damage will continue.

Sources and Materials

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

"La ligne à grande vitesse Tours-Bordeaux va devenir la plus grande concession d'Europe" -, Frederic DUBRESSY, 06/17/2018

"La LGV Tours-Bordeaux inaugurée malgré tout" - mobilicité, Florence GUERNALEC/AFP, 02/28/2018

"La LGV Tours-Bordeaux, première ligne ferrovière sous concession privée" - Le Monde économie, Eric BEZAT, 03/01/2018

"1 an de la LGV Paris-Bordeaux, toutes les promesses ne sont pas tenues" - France 3 Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Yleanna ROBERT, 07/02/2018

"Le paradoxe de la nouvelle ligne TGV Paris-Bordeaux" - Les, Lionel STEINMANN, 06/29/2018

"LGV Paris-Bordeaux : la riverains exaspérés par les nuissances sonores" - Le, Emmanuelle OESTERLE, 07/25/2017

"Polémique autour de l'impact environmental de la LGV Paris-Bordeaux" - batiactu, Anonymous, 12/13/2016

"LGV Tours-Bordeaux : un massacre environmental ?" - France Bleu, Yohan NICOLAS, 12/13/2016

"LGV Bordeaux-Toulouse : les associations de protection de la nature interpellent Nicolas Hulot" -, Rédaction LANGON, 03/01/2018

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Environ 400 personnes sont venues d'Indre-Loire, des Charentes et du département de la Vienne pour marquer leur détermination à lutter contre les nuisances sonores, esthétiques et les vibrations du TGV qui passe sur la nouvelle ligne Tours-Bordeaux. 7/10/2017.

Other documents

The new LGV The new LGV is now on service and cross the French country.

Meta information

Contributor:BECQUART Chloé, ESSCA, [email protected] / SEJOURNE Louis-Etienne, ESSCA, [email protected]
Last update02/12/2018



The new LGV

The new LGV is now on service across the French country.