On 1 February 2011, the State Party submitted a detailed report on issues relating to the potential impact of wind turbines on the landscape setting of the World Heritage property, as well as on its state of conservation and management.
a) Potential impact of wind turbines on the landscape setting of the World Heritage property
The State Party informs that no wind turbine or any area of wind power development has been authorized or is planned within the perimeter of the property or in the buffer zone. It further informs that the French authorities launched a forward-looking reflection on the modalities of heritage protection which notably took into account the construction of wind turbines. This led, in 2007, to the creation of an additional perimeter of protection around the Mont-Saint-Michel, "an area of landscape influence”, which extends beyond the buffer zone and takes into account the panoramas of distant visibility towards the Mount. According to the report, this area of landscape influence aims not only to eliminate the risk of co-visibility nuisances, but also to reestablish Mont-Saint-Michel in its environment, in the broadest sense. The area of influence takes into account all the places where the view of Mont-Saint-Michel participates in the total landscape and comprises two distinct registers: 1) an area of total exclusion, where no wind turbines are authorized; 2) a calculated area of exclusion, in which projects must demonstrate their lack of impact. The area of landscape influence will be integrated into the regional wind turbine plan that is being developed in Brittany, and is already included in the Manche Department Wind Turbine Scheme.
In its report, the State Party also reports on the approved and refused wind-power projects and wind turbine development zones, as well as those being considered in and beyond the area of influence. It also provides information on the height and distance of the turbines from Mont-Saint-Michel. The State Party informs that only one wind turbine development zone has been authorized in the Vallée de la Sée, in December 2009, within the perimeter of the calculated exclusion area. Of the 15 wind-power projects, three have been granted building permits, including two in the Ille-et-Villaine Department and beyond the area of landscape influence (including six 125-metre-high turbines, built at Trémeheuc at a distance of 23 km and at a height perceived, according to the State Party’s report, at 6 mm from Mont-St-Michel, and another at Coglès, which, according to the report, collapsed) and one in the Manche Department, municipality of Argouges (comprising three wind turbines at 20 km from the property, and of a height of 100 m to the blade tips). The latter is located at the edge of the area of influence and is not yet built.
In additional information received on 11 March 2011, the State Party indicates that, given the extensive features of the area of landscape influence and the type of wind turbines authorized and their location, the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is not threatened. The report submitted on 1 February 2011 also mentions that a retrospective evaluation of the approved project for the municipality of Argouges (3 turbines) shows that the current ability to better analyze the wind-power projects would probably lead to the refusal of these turbines. However, the State Party undertakes to ensure, during the preparation of all new cases, as well as during the defence of pending litigation, to take greater account of the visual area of influence of the Mont-Saint- Michel.
The World Heritage Centre continues to receive numerous letters from civil society concerned with the management of the property and the visual impacts of wind projects affecting it, including the possible construction of four wind turbines in the commune of Tremblay outside the area of landscape influence. However, the State Party confirms that this project was refused. Media inquiries on this subject are also very numerous.
b) Protection and management of Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay
The report of the State Party indicates the work accomplished in the context of Operation Grand Site (OGS) as well as the work involved with the project to restore the maritime character of Mont-St-Michel, and informs that future parking lots, welcome facilities and shuttle operation buildings are being constructed. The overall project, and each of its components, will receive particular attention from all stakeholders. The project has received funding of 164 million Euros to date and should be completed in 2014. In addition, the report highlights some difficulties with protection and management consultation and coordination of the property related to different administrative responsibilities: 2 departments, 2 regions and 2 ministries, and which would have blocked the proposed extension of protection for the entire Bay. The report repeatedly stresses the importance of designating a Regional Coordinator Prefect for the entire Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel.
The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies encourage the State Party to continue its efforts towards concerted management of the entire property. In this regard, they recall the results of the 2005 periodic report concerning the lack of a management plan in force for the entire property, as well as the lack of a timetable for implementation of the measure relating to the establishment of a Committee for interregional monitoring. The same report also indicated that the protective measures of the property are insufficient.