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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 18:22 GMT
Turbine plans stir Agincourt storm
By Nicola Stanbridge
BBC Today programme

French authorities are to hold a public inquiry into plans to build wind turbines near the site of the historic Battle of Agincourt between the French and the English in 1415.

Local residents have launched a petition against the plans.

The fields of Agincourt are just as muddy as on that fateful St Crispin's day of 1415 when the heavy armour of the French force weighed them down into the ploughed fields and the Welsh archers took aim.

Re-enactment actors
Thousands died on the fields of Agincourt
Close by the final English position there is an obelisk and plaque which reads: "A symbol of courage. A memory. A lesson for always."

All around are beautifully untouched fields awaiting the four wind turbines, half the size of the Eiffel Tower, that have led to an entirely separate battle.

Mayor of Agincourt Bernard Boulet says his region was chosen because it is particularly windy.

He says farmers will receive tax benefits as part of a wider European initiative to produce cleaner energy.

But he tells me later that the turbines, to be set to the southwest of the battlefield, will be visible to visitors.

Tourism

Henry V's side stood at around 6,000 and was victorious over the French force of perhaps 30,000 and I wondered whether it was one battle site they are not too protective over.

Mr Boulet admits the French are more interested in more recent battles but says Shakespeare did highlight Agincourt and tourism was important in the region.

A lot of people, French and British, died, so it must be as it was
Patrick Frenet,
Agincourt resident
"Today 80% of the visitors are English and it is important to the area," he said.

Environmental campaigner Thierry Yverneau, whose house is 700 metres behind the proposed turbine site, started a petition against the plans.

He says it is not wind energy he is against, but the huge turbines dominating the historic site of Agincourt, known as Azincourt in France.

They are also very close to his house and noisy.

Pollution

One of his neighbours says it will make electricity bills more expensive than they are and leave concrete scars at the end of their lifespan, though to be no more than 30 years.

Patrick Frenet, another local resident against the turbines, says they could ruin an honoured final resting place of thousands who fought at Agincourt.

"The wind turbines will be a pollution of the site, of the view," he said.

"When you travel, when you walk, you can imagine the fighters."


SEE ALSO:
Archers' new battle in Agincourt
09 Dec 03  |  South East Wales
Henry V
19 May 03  |  Review


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