World War 2 fury: Wind turbines blight ‘sacred’ British D-Day memorial: ‘Must protect it’

Prince Charles speaks French during D-Day tribute

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Outrage has erupted between two villages in Normandy, with one village slamming a proposed wind farm as an insult to a D-Day memorial less than a kilometre away. Normandy is the site of Operation Neptune, the largest seaborne invasion in history, where the Allied forces stormed the region in World War 2, laying the foundation of victory on the Western Front of the war.

The controversy began after the village of Le Manoir approved the construction of five 150m-high turbines, just 800m from Ryes war cemetery, Bazenville, just eight kilometres from Bayeux.

This war cemetery is very close to the D-Day beaches at Arromanches, which is where the 50th Division landed on June 6, 1944.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation: “The first burials were made there just two days after the landings.”

The cemetery contains 652 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, along with one Polish and 335 German graves.

The controversy began after the village of Le Manoir approved the construction of five 150m-high turbines, just 800m from Ryes war cemetery, Bazenville, just eight kilometres from Bayeux.

This war cemetery is very close to the D-Day beaches at Arromanches, which is where the 50th Division landed on June 6, 1944.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation: “The first burials were made there just two days after the landings.”

The cemetery contains 652 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, along with one Polish and 335 German graves.

Le Manoir, a village with a population of about 200, gave permission last month to construct the first mast on arable land, which will be used to test wind strength and direction on the site.

However, on Monday, the angered municipal council of the neighbouring Bezanville voted unanimously against the wind turbines.

Marcel Dubois, the mayor, told Le Figaro: “We are on a plain and wherever you are, you will see these masts.”

Locals from the town are worried that the wind turbine will interfere with the view.

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One woman told TF1 Info: “Can you imagine the corner here which is superb, which is natural, with not one but five, ten, fifty wind turbines in future years? I don’t see it.”

Another added: “I’m totally against it because it’s damaging the environment.”

Wind farms are being rapidly constructed in Normandy, some within a stone’s throw of the landing beaches, cemeteries and memorials.

In 2021, residents and veterans’ groups lost a legal battle to halt the construction of 64 offshore wind turbines six miles off the landing sites.

Landry Lefort, treasurer of the association for the protection of the Bessin environment said: “The descendants of veterans who go here have this probable feeling of evolving in the landscape that their parents knew, there is almost a sacred dimension now on this territory.”

Ms Lefort also added that she will be issuing a legal challenge to the town for approving the wind turbines.

She is joined by the environmental group, Pour le Protection de l’Environnement (For the Protection of the Environment), which will also launch an appeal.

Ben Andre, who is leading that group said: “We’re not against wind farms per se but we are on a commemoration site which must be protected.”

The campaigners argue that the project, which will be completed in 2024, violates the Normandy’s plans to protect the 50 miles of the beaches by classifying them as a Unesco World Heritage site.

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