D-Day landing beaches may be desecrated by a wind farm

With the anniversary of D-Day just days away, there is a project underway to build a nearby wind farms. It needs to be stopped. Photo: AP

NORMANDY, FRANCEMay 31, 2013 – With the anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy just a few days away, a major environmental controversy has arisen in France that is being criticized by veterans from several nations.

Former French President Ncolas Sarkozy has been accused of committing a “grave attack on the collective memory of the liberation of France and Europe in World War II by approving a wind farm off the coast of Normandy. Before leaving office, Sarkozy granted approval in 2011 for 75 or more 525-foot windmills to be erected just seven miles from the shores of the D-Day landing beaches. The turbines are scheduled to be built in 2015.

Many critics, including environmentalists and families of British veterans, are calling it a “sacrilegious” act that desecrates hallowed ground.

John Phipps, a spokesman for D-Day Revisited, which funds and organizes visits for British veterans, said, “The veterans don’t like this kind of thing. It wouldn’t be the same with wind farms.”

Read more about the Normandy American Cemetery:

Today, signs leading to the beaches still bear the code names that were part of the largest amphibious invasion in history: Sword, Gold, Juno, Utah and Omaha.

Ironically, the dominant energy source in France is nuclear power and, currently, there are no sea-based turbines in the country. The three companies heading up the project – EDF (France), Doing Energy (Denmark) and WPD Offshore Solutions (Germany) – claim it would be difficult to find an alternate location out of sight of the coast due to the depth of the water and encroachment on fishing grounds and shipping lanes.

Many proponents view the project as a job creator which is a legitimate counter-argument, especially in tough economic times.

On the other hand, “This is a sacred site that must not be spoilt,” said Admiral Christian Brac de la Perrière, the head of the official French D-Day Committee, the Comité du Débarquement de Normandie, which organizes commemorations at the sites.

“Every year on June 6, we gather local school children on the beaches to make them feel what the young British, American and Canadian soldiers felt when they fought their way ashore,” said the admiral. “How will they understand if they are looking out at wind turbines?”

Petitions are being signed to appeal to the international community in a call to stop the project by preserving the landing beaches under UNESCO’s World Patrimony which would protect them from all industrial development.

To participate in signing the petition, go to :


Some analysts believe the flashing lights from the turbines at night will create a disco effect, particularly at the Juno and Omaha beaches. Omaha is the site of the Normandy American Cemetery where the heaviest casualties of the invasion occurred.

One former RAF group captain is so upset by the project that he says if the farm is built, he would be prepared to bomb it.

The chairman of the European Platform Against Windfarms, Jean-Louis Butre, is not quite so dramatic but agrees by saying, « This is a massacre of the beaches. »

Cancelling such a project is not unprecedented. Just last year another wind farm was stopped at one of Frnce’s most popular attractions, Mont St. Michel, when UNESCO threatened to suspend its World Heritage status. Mont St. Michel is a historic, ancient abbey which stands majestically atop a rocky tidal island.

A public debate scheduled in Arromanches on June 12 will be conducted in both English and French. Arromanches is a small villlage which was the location of one of two ingenious floating harbors used to transport tanks, trucks and other equipment ashore during the invasion.

One plan to build a wind farm on the site of a World War I battlefield in northern France, has been put on hold following public opposition.

Perhaps the coming D-Day anniversary will raise awareness for Americans to join the effort to find an alternative solution. Some places deserve to be respected. If we can do it in the United States to protect wildlife, then surely we should honor those who gave their lives to preserve our freedom.

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Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in CharlotteNCTaylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) which offers tours and travel information for people who share his wanderlust spirit.  

Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@magellantravelclub.com Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.

As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 71 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.




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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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