Magistrate grounds France’s ‘Great West’ airport project


Government plans to build a controversial 580-million-euro “Great West” airport in countryside near the town of Nantes in north-west France received a major blow earlier this week when a magistrate ruled that the environmental damage could not be justified by economic opportunity. The shock decision against a project that has been more than fifty years in the making, and which is ardently championed by Prime Minister Manuel Valls while hotly contested by ecologists, is now under review by a panel of judges who will give a final decision early next week. Jade Lindgaard reports from Nantes.

Update Monday November 14th: The magistrate's ruling was overturned by the panel of judges in Nantes on Monday. Airport opponents announced they are now to lodge an appeal before France's highest administrative court, the Council of State.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

"If people think that the public rapporteur can be influenced by pressure from the government, they do not know the public rapporteur,” said Christine Piltant, an independent examining magistrate who is called upon, as a rapporteur, to mediate in administrative disputes in the town of Nantes in north-west France.