Start of the fight : 24/02/2012

Fight won by : Alain

This project consists of extracting 400,000 cubic metres of shell sand annually over a period of 20 years, i.e. a total of 8 million cubic metres, from an underwater dune situated at the “Pointe de Lannion”. This location is at less than one kilometre from two Natura 2000 sites. The coveted site is a preferred habitat of sand eels, which numerous marine bird species and fish feed on and who would suddenly find themselves threatened.  The project would devastate an area which is being frequented by ten thousand people every year. Thus, it may pose real risks to the environment but also impact on tourism, water sports, and fishing activities.

In March 2012, the collective Le Peuple des Dunes en Trégor  (The people of the Trégor Dunes), association in which the Keeper, Alain, is involved, challenged the project by highlighting the many risks associated with such ventures.

Despite the project being incomplete, it was subject to a public inquiry in 2010, the outcome of which was presented to the Prefect of the Finistère Department. Against all expectations, the Prefect gave the go-ahead.  In response, concerned local politicians from the communities bordering onto the site and the communes of the towns Lannion/Trégor, who all wish for the entire Lannion Bay to be classed as a Natura 2000 site, expressed their opposition. In May 2012, following an appeal for citizen mobilisation, 4,500 people rallied on Tresmeur Beach to demonstrate against the project. An online petition opposing the project was launched and received 12,000 signatures. Thanks to this strong mobilisation, Alain and his collective were able to enter into discussions with the highest State authorities, including M. Cuvillier, the French Minister for Transport and Maritime Economy, in October 2012.

Throughout the winter of 2012-13, the Keeper conveyed information on his battle by use of the print media and television. This media attention resulted in a guest appearance of the Keeper in the film ‘Sand Wars: An Investigative Documentary’ by Denis Délestrac, which was broadcast on Arte.  To review the issue on marine aggregate extraction and the lack of response from the Minister at the cut-off date, which was the 15th of March 2013 (implying an ‘implicit rejection’ of the project), the Keeper and the collective organised a mediatised round table on the 12th of July 2013. Moreover, in April 2013 and backed by three MEPs, the collective referred to the Committee on Petitions in Brussels evoking the irreversible and exorbitant harm likely to be inflicted on the two Natura 2000 zones.

For further information, you can consult the website of the collective ‘The People of the Trégor Dunes or the association’s blog Trébeurden-Patrimoine-Environnement.

Le Gardien

Alain is the President of the association “Trébeurden Patrimoine Environnement“.


15th of January 2010: Registration of the request for mining rights with the Ministry of Ecology.

25th of October – 25th of November 2010: Public inquiry is carried out in the 13 concerned municipalities. All municipalities involved in the public inquiry issue recommendations against the project, including the Lannion Trégor commune.

11th and 15th of January 2011: Submission and publication of the report by the investigating commissioner, who endorses the project – despite the 1,132 unfavourable opinions out of a total of 1,403 – but makes five recommendations for review, including the need to assess the initial status before the start of the works, which confirms that the initial status of Lannion Bay had not previously been assessed.

24th of January 2011: Public notice by IFREMER, presenting reservations on the application for concession (mining claim granted by the Ministry of Ecology) and stronger reservations on the accorded authorisation to begin work (prefectural decree issued by the Prefect of the Finistère Department).

March 2011: The case is in the hands of the Ministry of Ecology.

22nd of April 2011: The DREAL submits the synthesis report, which resumes all recommendations and previous reports, and endorses the project under the condition that before the commencement of any works, a comprehensive initial status assessment is being carried out and validated by the government services.

May 2011: After a meeting of the mining commission, the Prefect of the Finistère Department who coordinates the case issues a favourable opinion to the Ministries of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing, for them to assess and decide upon the mining concession.

6th of May 2011: Report by the mining commission to the Finistère Prefecture; consultative meeting in Brest of all concerned politicians, the petitioner, local government, etc.

July 2011: Following this consultative meeting, the Prefect of the Finistère Department issues a favourable opinion to the Ministry of Ecology.

Late 2011:

  • The complaint is in the hands of the European Commission;
  • The Coastal Areas Charter is signed by the relevant politicians under the auspices of the Regional Council;
  • Press review;
  • Several letters to the Minister for Ecology and the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries;
  • Motion of support by the municipalities concerned by the public inquiry and by the Lannion Trégor commune;
  • Motion of support by the scientific committee of the nature reserve Sept Iles;
  • Contribution by France Nature Environnement for the elaboration of a national strategy for the sustainable management of marine aggregates;
  • Drawing-up of a methodological guide on the effects on Natura 2000 sites by DREAL.

January 2012: Establishment of the collective “Le Peuple des Dunes en Trégor” (The people of the Trégor dunes). The collective receives active support from the local politicians. The municipalities of Trébeurden, Pleumeur-Bodou, Lannion, Tréduder, Ploulec’h, Locquirec, Ploumilliau, Guimaec, Trédrez-Locquémeau, and the urban community of the Lannion Trégor commune vote in an official motion to support the collective. It also gets a positive reception from national politicians including MPs for Côtes d’Armor and Finistère, Senators for Côtes d’Armor and Finistère, and the President of the Lannion Town Council.

April 2012: More than 12,000 signatures collected on the internet.

May 2012: Call for mobilisation, and mobilisation of over 4,500 people.

June 2012: The Ministry of Ecology “notices that Natura 2000 sites have not sufficiently been taken into account” and requests “additional information” from the petitioner, which shows that the impact study from the public inquiry file is inadequate.

July 2012: Letter to the Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy and the Delegate Minister for Transport, Sea and Fishing (Frédéric Cuvillier) requesting a hearing. This letter is backed by the local MP Corine Erhel, who is also asking for a meeting with the Minister.

18th of August 2012: Stall run by the Peuples de Dunes en Trégor during the Festival of the Sea.

October 2012: Reply by the President of the Côtes d’Armor General Council to the collective: He suggests to extract the shell sand further out at sea and in smaller quantities.

12th of October 2012: Politician and member of the Collective (Odile Guérin) announces during a Trébeurden municipal council meeting that the mining concession will be given. As a result, this announcement is quoted in the press, where it is suggested that the sand extraction is about to commence.

The Mayor of Perros-Guirec (Yvan Bonnot), who opposes the project, holds a vote on a motion of support for the Collective of the Peuples de Dunes en Trégor. The Mayor asks the Keeper of the Coast to prepare a file to be presented to the Minister.

19th of October 2012: Visit by M. Cuvillier, Delegate Minister for Transport, Sea and Fishing and in charge of the project file, to the symposium of ANEL (Association Nationale des Elus du Littoral), which is presided over by Yvon Bonnot (Mayor of Perros-Guirec). Objective: To explain why this concession should not be given.
The collective is met by a technical advisor of Minister Cuvillier who is in Perros-Guirec for the ANEL symposium. There is a subsequent debriefing at the Maison de la Mer, and also a press conference.

22nd of October 2012: Cap 21 declares its opposition to the project.

15th of November 2012: The collective is received by the General Secretary of the Côtes d’Armor Prefecture, who submits the minutes from the meeting to the Finistère Prefecture.

10th of December 2012: It is said that the General Council on Economy, Industry, Energy, and Technologies (CGEIET), which is presided by M. Moscovici and Arnaud Montebourg, has endorsed the project.

20th of December 2012: Public meeting organised by the Collective and the Keeper to highlight the dangers posed by the extraction project.

26th of December 2012: The Collective is received by the General Secretary of the Finistère Prefecture who coordinates the case and who will sign the decree giving the green light to the project if the Minister validates the mining concession.

Late 2012: The petition reaches 16,000 signatures.

4th of January 2013: The Collective is received by the Vice-President of the Regional Council in charge of Water, Environment and Biodiversity, who expresses his surprise that the case is still being examined although all of the concerned local politicians have expressed unfavourable opinions. He makes it clear that he will inform the Regional Prefect and appeal to the Minister Mme Batho during his visit to Rennes on the 23rd of January 2013.

January 2013: The collective meets with the Prefect of the Côtes d’Armor Department and the Vice-President of the Regional Council in charge of Water, Environment and Biodiversity. Organisation of public meetings to generate press coverage; issuing of a report for an article in

4th of February 2013: Press Conference

5th of February 2013: Broadcasting of a documentary on the French regional TV channel Armor TV.

11th of February 2013: The collective has a hearing with M. Bui Gwénégan, MP for Morlaix and former Deputy to the Minister for State Reform, Mme Le Branchu.

12th of February 2013: The Le Monde newspaper prints an article on the project.

3rd of March 2013: A journalist from the French Press Office uses the case as the basis for a documentary.

6th of March 2013: Broadcasting of a documentary on the case on the national channel France 2.

13th of March 2013: The documentary is shown on the TV channel France Bleu.

April 2013: Supported by three MEPs, the Keeper raises the issue with the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament.

28th of May 2013: Broadcasting of the film “Sand Wars: An Investigation Documentary” by Denis DelestracDenis Délestrac. Towards the end of the documentary, the film points out that resistance is growing, as for example through Le Peuple des Dunes en Trégor in Trébeurden, and pictures of the rally from the 13th of May 2012 are being shown.

12th of July 2013: Round table with the film producer Denis Délestrac and concerned politicians. The documentary highlights the dangers of sand extraction. We are still waiting for a decision by the French Minister for Industrial Recovery. As we have had no response by the cut-off date, i.e. the 15th of March 2013, this technically is an ‘implicit rejection’ of the project. However, the State can at any time turn the ‘implicit rejection’ into an ‘explicit decision’. The entire media was invited on the 12th of July 2013: local, regional and national newspapers, radio and TV stations.

27th of August 2013: The Collective Le Peuple des Dunes en Trégor meets with Arnaud Montebourg (current Minister for Industrial Recovery) to review the marine aggregate extraction in the Bay of Lannion. The Minister sets a date for another meeting around one month later to discuss the subject further.

5th of September 2013: The collective receives five documents from the CAN (Compagnie Armoricaine de Navigation/Armor Shipping Company) which are old and do not add anything to the case.

17th of September 2013: Organisation of a meeting for debates and consultation between the CAN and the fisher people opposed to the sand extraction project, which does not reach a compromise.

Chronologie des faits

Chaîne Youtube du Peuple des Dunes en Trégor