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Ligne THT / High Voltage Electricity Pylons – ++Southern Manche++

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Many people in the Manche / Calvados departments are already

aware of the plans to run a line of electricity pylons down the Cotentin peninsular,

carrying power generated at the new nuclear power station under

construction at Flamanville, at the top of the Cotentin, near Cherbourg.

If this is new to you, rather than go into the detail here,

could I ask you to use this link to read up on the early discussions.


Those discussions include various links to EDF / RTE

official sites which also carry “broad brush” maps of possible routes

(corridors). The preferred option by those against the line – bury it

– is not being considered.

That’s the background; this is the new information:

RTE (Reseau Transport Electrique – the “infrastructure” arm

of EDF tasked with transporting electricity – in this case via pylons) have

narrowed down the initial “corridors” to three possibilities.


of RTE are making appointments with the Maires of the Communes which could be

affected by one or more of the proposals and showing the Maire a presentation on a laptop

of where the line is planned through their Commune. This presentation is to

gauge the likely opposition in a Commune and the strength of the opposition (or

acquiescence) from a Commune may influence the eventual choice of route.

No supporting paperwork is left after the meeting – the laptop is closed and

the presentation goes with it – so the Maires are not left with anything on

paper to show around.

Because the discussions are confined to this very local

level with no indication of the bigger picture (only: “the line would come into the

Commune here and exit it here”)
few Communes are mentioned by name during the

meeting. The information below relates only to the Communes immediately

adjacent to where I live. If you are concerned, it is now up to you to go and

ask your Maire if they have had / or are due to have a meeting with RTE.

Do it

soon – August looms. And we all know what happens in August. Nothing.

The three possible routes will be announced in full in September

with the commencement of a Public Enquiry.

Proposal 1

This route would locate the new line alongside the existing

high tension line which runs north / south in the
Villedieu les Poêles

locality. In other words, if you have a pylon now, you’d have two in 3-4 years


Proposal 2

Via the Communes of St Pois => St Laurent Cuves =>

Cuves => direction of Juvigny-le-Tertre

Proposal 3

Via the Communes of St Pois / St Michel de Montjoie =>

Perriers-en-Beauficel =>
Chérencé-le-Roussel => Bellefontaine => Saint-Barthélemy

I need to emphasise here that this is not speculation – this

is what our Maire told us he was told in a face-to-face meeting with RTE representatives last week.

It's worth noting that RTE are not going to run the lines through the middle of

villages but routes at the edge of villages will still have considerable visual

and noise (58dB) implications for anyone living nearby without even starting

considering potential health risks. 

Having said that, we have also heard that the following

towns and villages may be affected though I don't know by which route/s. As RTE are being very careful about how

much they say at each meeting and confine comments almost only to the Commune

itself (plus adjacent Communes) I cannot be as positive about the accuracy of the following:

  • Montabot
  • Le Chefresne
  • St Jean du Corail
  • Buais

What should you do?

Go to your Mairie and ask directly whether the

Commune is likely to be included in one or more of the Proposals and

whether the RTE representatives have had a meeting to explain the potential

impact. Or are due to do so.

If your Commune might play host to some of these pylons then

there are a number of things you can do:

  • Write to the Maire expressing your concern

  • Join your local anti-THT group – go on manifestations

    (the more bodies the better and occasionally, things get really exciting when

    you “doorstep” clandestine meetings (which are supposed to be public) between RTE officials and local officials…

    now that’s integration!) Incidentally, very few British people have

    joined these “contra” groups so don’t feel you are being a British NIMBY – the

    groups are organised and populated by French people who are more of the

    opinion: Not In Anyone’s Backyard.
  • Host a NO-THT-HERE-type placard on your land, ideally in full view of roads in / out of the village. Raise awareness.

  • If no local group, book a table at your local vide

    grenier (or fete or whatever) and get signatures from your Commune for a

    petition to present to the Mairie

  • Pass around leaflets in English or French. I have some

    leaflets produced by Coordination Inter-regionale anti-THT Ille-et-Vilaine,

    Mayenne, Manche, Orne
    , currently in French but shortly to be in English too. PM

    me if you’re interested.

And if you’ve made it to the end of this epic post,

congratulations. [:D]

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hi Catalpa,

This is really useful information. I have just been over to Normandy for a week and have fallen in love with a property just outside Lonlay L'Abbey (near to Domfront). Do you think that the pylons might come through this area?


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Posted on our Normandy forum on Aug 7:

There are very strong rumours that the route for the 400kV power lines has been finalised.
A map was published recently showing the sensitive areas which the line would not pass through. Apparently the maires of the communes which could be affected, i.e. those outside these 'sensitive' areas, have now been given details of the route. I am told that those who fear they might be affected can apply to their mairie to see a copy of the proposed route.
This is rumour, it is not confirmed, but may be of interest to those who fear they could be affected.

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Coco's correct. I have no balls. [:D]

As Will's post indicates, there are maps but I think the one he (or his poster) mentions showing "sensitive" areas was published a year or so ago. I think it is on the RTE site, "cartes". There are undoubtedly maps showing the more detailed proposals but our Maire - and ours is a commune that would definitely be affected by one of the proposed routes - wasn't left a copy of a map.

From what I remember, Lonlay l'Abbaye was not likely to be affected by the THT line but even so, I think that town has a different challenge which needs to be discussed with the Mairie: proposals for a landfill site.

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The information I have - and I stress that this is third-hand, and I have not seen any definitive maps myself (though I have been told they exist) - is that it is going to pass well to the west of Lonlay l'Abbaye. I'm not going to say where, as I don't want to either build up hopes or worry others unduly. For all I know the route I have heard about may be only one of three or four.
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[quote user="Herbert"]Can you normally email the Mairie?


Visit followed up by letter is probably best.

Letter sent recorded delivery with copy of signed receipt returned to sender is ideal.

Email... well, personally, emailing a French Mairie is way down on my list of effective communication methods. Email has yet to reach the level of acceptance in France that is has in the UK... and in many other countries.

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thanks Catalpa. I am not going to be able to get over to France again for a couple of months for family reasons so will ask the estate agent to ask the mairie - although I am slightly unimpressed that he never knew of the landfill in the first place...
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[quote user="Herbert"]...he never knew of the landfill in the first place...[/quote]

Or chose not to say anything about it. To be fair, I would not expect an agent to volunteer such information, particularly in cases where the actual location, or whether or not it will go ahead, is still undecided. Although if you had specifically asked about developments that might affect the house the agent should be honest. You may have got a clue from the various signboards in the area in opposition to the THT line and various landfill and/or rubbish transfer projects, at places like Cuves and Isigny-le-Buat as well as Lonlay l'Abbaye, so you would know what to ask.

Don't necessarily expect notaires to tell you about such things either, or for them to be included in the local searches as they would be in Britain; though again, if you ask a specific question, the notaire has a duty to give you a truthful answer.

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[quote user="Will"]

Or chose not to say anything about it. To be fair, I would not expect an agent to volunteer such information, particularly in cases where the actual location, or whether or not it will go ahead, is still undecided. [/quote]

A friend locally has a gîte and is renting it at the moment to house-hunters. When the couple found something in the general vicinity, our friend told them to be sure to ask the immo about the likelihood of the THT line running nearby. They asked, agent was apparently thoroughly annoyed verging on aggressive, demanding to know how they'd found out about it.

Immos are in business to sell houses. Telling prospective purchasers about something that "might" happen when they don't have to impart the information hits them in their pocket.

Will - when the line is decided, ie, has been officially announced, if a house for sale is located by the pylons and / or line, is it a requirement of the immo or notaire to state to the purchaser that there could, say, be a pylon erected 300metres away, if it is known? Or, in that type of situation, is it still up to the purchaser to ask the relevant question?

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Herbert just a follow up to Will and this is with my legal hat on.

Forget the UK or should I say England Wales and NI land system here and to an extent you are on your own.

You should do everything you can to protect yourself and I mean everything.  Sometimes its very difficult for you may be domiciled in the UK and thus rely in part or whole on immobiliers here.  There are as in all walks of life good bad and indifferent immobiliers.

Can understand that principle but I would not rely upon any immobilier especially as you are making a large investment I would do the leg work myself and as Will sells look for tell-tale signs in the hedgerows signs posters or whatever.  By way of an example we used to board our dogs near to where Will lives.  Saw signs on the way which said something about rubbish (poubelle) then found out about the in-fill site and thus obviously then off our list for house buying in the future.

Again its unfair to ask an immo to speculate upon something that perhaps is not yet decided.

Strictly speaking Solicitors in the UK owe a duty of care to you and conduct all sorts of searches with HMLR.  They are no such breed of animal here a Notaire is perhaps a quasi-Government official.

Here you have to think on your feet and look after yourselves.  Most purchasers go through ok but we only hear of the ones that do not.

Finally I live in Manche and when prospective purchasers for our house were then going to look at other houses I suggested (not sour grapes) that they ask the question where are the THT lines going or any in-fill sites planned.  Thus they were on notice and if they did not at least ask the question then its their decision and no one elses.

We have decided to leave Manche but when just toying with the idea of a house near St James and Fougeres saw that Fourgeres was potentially in the line of one of the routes of the THT.  Outcome no thanks.  Its too much of a risk and risk is relative to reward.

As I say forget totally the UK system France is France and warts and all.  Their system is based on legal codes ours on common law and precedent.  Not good bedfellows.

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[quote user="Catalpa"]
...if a house for sale is located by the pylons and / or line, is it a requirement of the immo or notaire to state to the purchaser that there could, say, be a pylon erected 300metres away, if it is known? Or, in that type of situation, is it still up to the purchaser to ask the relevant question?

Definitely ask, and follow up with your own checks. There is no guarantee that an agent or notaire would know (or remember) or that it would show up in notaire's searches, which usually only involve the actual boundaries. I would echo all that Llwyncelyn says.

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This weeks Le Manche Libre is suggesting on page three the poches which are excluded from the route finale.  I am not sure of my facts for my French is not that good when it comes to such issues.  However Percy and where I live is seemingly safe?  Is that interpretation a correct one please?

kind regards


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It would appear from what you say that the Percy area is most likely 'safe' but I do not have the local paper in question. I am sure that it knows, as we all do, the areas that the line is likely to avoid, the rest is still speculation in the absence of complete and official information.

The current situation is an object lesson in how not to deal with sensitive issues such as this. OK, we can forget the so-called 'safe' areas, at least for the moment. But that leaves the rest of the region, which would still seem to offer several possibilities for the route within the corridors originally published. Maires of communes which are 'affected' have apparently been sent maps showing the proposed line through their commune. From what we hear, those communes are scattered quite randomly which would seem to indicate that either the route is tortuous and circular (highly unlikely, a THT line needs to be as straight as possible) or that there are still several possibilities - that seems much more likely. Plenty of people claim to have seen these maps, but they only show one very small section of what nobody knows for sure is definite or not, and moreover the route is apparently indicated by such a thick line that it is rather difficult to establish where the pylons will go. Trouble is, everybody who has seen one of the maps is convinced he/she has now seen the final defitive document, so they are speculating where the rest of the line is going. Everybody has heard some bits of so-called information, but mostly only second, third or fourth hand - result total confusion.

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I read on another forum that the route is to be announced on 27th September. Until then it's all speculation except for those areas such as St Sever forest, centre of Villedieu etc which were always shown as definately not being affected.

It'll be good once it's been announced as until then it must be putting something of a blight on a huge corridor through the length of Manche.

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Cheryla, obviously Le Manche Libre is not the absolute 100% correct source for all of this but it has taken up say two pages on the secure poches this week.

As you know we live near Percy and this morning I met some officials from the Town Hall and if they are to be believed then Percy is safe.  However as in all things French things change.

I absolutely agree that this has to be concluded shortly for otherwise we get a death row as in USA approach to all of this and everyone is just speculating as to where and when.

Its like toothache it has to come out.

You must be pleased you sold when you did?  I knew you had a crystal ball on top of that hill!

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are some maps on this new site: http://perso.orange.fr/selunesoustension/index.htm (Click on the EPR et THT tag). This includes the map showing the supposedly 'safe' areas. It is clear from the maps that there are still several possible routes, at least in the Buais/Barenton/St-Cyr/Heusse areas.

Llwyncelyn might be interested in this similar site: http://perso.orange.fr/percysoustension/index.htm

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oops - lost my quote whilst previewing. weird. anyhoo, i'm the person from the other forum Will mentioned earlier in this thread...

that was me! on the wall of his office he had an ordnance survey map which shows every building in the commune. on this map were marked three possible routes the line will take around st laurent de cuves. he seemed absolutely sure that the line will affect st laurent (thought not the centre of the village of course). the other map, showing the 'sensitive' areas, was freely available in a glossy newsletter from edf, and the maire gave us a copy of this. we didn't get hold of a copy of the fine detail map (it was the only one, and he didn't seem keen to photocopy it) but he let us have a good look at it. maybe if your mairie DOESN'T have one of the ordnance survey maps then your area isn't a serious consideration.

at the moment, it's rather like one of those mazes in a kids puzzle mag, but we can only see one small part of it. perhaps if other people went to pester their maire we could join a few more dots! (sorry, mixing my puzzles up!).

on the 27th, maires will be told the line of the route to the nearest 1km, apparently.

and the other things he mentioned were 1) the lines will follow the valley for minimum visual impact and 2) there is a wider 'exclusion zone' around batiments containing animals than around houses.

i wish you all better luck than we're experiencing

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thanks Will know some of the guys on the site.  Seemingly and with the compromis signed for our house and the deposit paid directly to the Notaire we are on our way further south.

However I will always look out for pylons in-fill sites water treatment plants and a whole host of other things before we sign for our new home.  Indeed I saw a house with an agent three weeks ago and it was by a river that never flooded.  It is now flooded so thats on my list as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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