UNESCO Says No To Three Wind Turbines Near France's Most Famous Monsastery


Photo: afloresm under a Creative Commons license.

On Monday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), rejected a proposal to build a series of wind turbines in the vicinity of the Mont Saint Michel, France's most famous monastery. Dating from the 8th century, the site has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. We've seen a lot of wind power projects hindered by NIMBY arguments, but this may be the first case of NNMNHS: Not Near My National Heritage Site!

The plan to build three wind turbines, each 99 meters tall, was authorized by the Prefecture of La Manche (where the Mont Saint Michel is located) in 2007, reported Le Parisien. They were to be located at Argouges, about 12 kilometers from the famous monastery, and thus wouldn't ruin the gorgeous view of the wedding cake-like building from ground.

But the UNESCO ruling doesn't protect just the view of the site; it protects the view from the site. And since the monastery reaches 80 meters tall, that view covers a 40 kilometer range.

Clearly, no one would want to see a wind turbine perched on the Mont Saint Michel, least of all the great numbers of tourists who flock to the site each summer and those who make money from their visits. But is it reasonable to cordon off a 40km area from clean energy development? After all, you can see other, modern buildings from the monastery's heights. Just how much of this NNMNHS attitude can the world take?

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More on wind power and NIMBY opposition:
'Flying Donut' Turbines Tackle NIMBY Issue
Designed for NIMBYs, Palm Tree Hides Solar and Wind Power
NIMBYs in Minority? Many Residents Welcome Massive Turbines

Tags: France | United Nations | Wind Power