Government sends mixed messages over bloody battle for new airport


Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has sought to calm the major controversy surrounding plans for a new airport near his home city of Nantes by calling for “dialogue”. But at the same time the forces of law and order led a major operation against protesters at the planned airport site, leaving up to 100 people injured. Jade Lindgaard charts the latest developments in a bitter saga that is proving damaging both to the government's relations with its green allies and its reputation on environment issues.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

Is the government in the process of opening the door to dialogue over the highly-controversial plan for a new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes near Nantes in western France? For the first time it has given signs of doing so, after a weekend of bloody clashes between gendarmes and protesters occupying the proposed site of the airport which left 100 people injured. A statement from the office of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault – who when he was Mayor of Nantes strongly backed the development - announced that a “dialogue committee” will meet this week “to outline the project and to hear all the parties involved”.