Why local airport referendum matters for all of France

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On Sunday June 26th the voters of the Loire-Atlantique département or county in west France – where some 967,500 people are on the electoral roll – were asked to say yes or no to plans for a new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. It was the first time in France that citizens have been able to vote in this way on an infrastructure project that affects the environment, plans that have already been declared a public utility by the state. The outcome was a victory for backers of the scheme, with 55.17 % of people who voted supporting the building of the new airport.