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1. Background information.

  • Conflict started in February 2014 and still ongoing.
  • Location is in Saint-Nicolas-du-Tertre (Morbihan, France)
  • Conflict type is land use conflict between agriculture and energy. It's also an ethic question.
  • Issues are social, ecological, agricultural and economical.
  • Resources involved are agricultural products, agricultural residues, animal waste and agricultural lands

The project :

Methanisation is a relevant solution in the mix of renewable energy. Nevertheless, in order to respect the environment, it has to be mastered according to ressources and needs of the territory. In Saint Nicolas du Tertre, February 2014, a big hog producer developped a methanisation project in his farm (Cf : Figure 1). He already had the autorisation to expand his farm. Actually, manure application is not possible anymore in the canton, it has to be done in Redon, 10 km away from the site. That's why methanisation was an answer to this problem. The expand of the farm has been granted and signed by the SAFER (Sociétés d'Aménagement Foncier et d’Etablissement Rural, in english it can be translated as property management and rural establishment society). Farming is sustained by 107 hectares, the extension will be 45 hectares more. 

Figure 1 : Localisation of the conflict (Saint-Nicolas-du-Tertre, Morbihan, France, coordinates : 47°48'10.2"N 2°13'17.1"W)

Source :,+France/@47.7943671,-2.250936,13z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x480fbc9303963cb5:0xb4fb87364b59409c!8m2!3d47.802741!4d-2.220603?hl=fr

2. Evaluation of the conflict

Reason of conflict :

Oponents said that this expansion is at the expense of new agricultural facilities. It transforms the present farm into a factory farm, where livestock production is a raw material for supplying energy. They want to defend an agriculture on a human scale, respectful of the environment and which is destined to feed population. New young farmers are also protesting against these project because It's harder for them to acquire lands (It makes the price of hectares increasing). 

Many issues are involved :

  • Ethic and ecologic issue : The farm is no longer at a human scale, animals are used as "raw material"
  • Agricultural Issue : 45 ha will be used to produce energy instead of food
  • Economic Issue : Young people who wants to work as farmers will hardly find a land (It's more expensive)


Stakeholders involved :

In favour of the project 

  • The hog farmer who wants to install the methanisation facilitie. WHY ? Thanks to this land aquisition, He can manage his waste, and diversify his activities. He will benefits subsidies from the governement for the biogaz produced.
  • The SAFER. WHY ? SAFER Brittany is involved on the market of land and exploitations, to install new farmers and enlarge exploitations. The reason is economical.
  • The methanisation development plan of the agricultural minister (Stéphane Le Foll). WHY ? This measure planned within the framework « Energie méthanisation autonomie azote » (Energy methanation autonomy nitrogen (EMAA)) launched in 2013, is added to other measures such as : the appreciation of price lists about 10 % for all methane digester  in 2015, the exemptions from land tax on the built properties (TFPB) and of land contribution of companies (CFE) adopted from 2013 till 2015, the possibility of supplying installations thanks to intermediate cultures with energy vocation in 2016.

Against the project

  • Members of EELV Regional council of Brittany (Europe Écologie Les Verts = French ecologist political party) like René Louail president of this group. WHY ? Because methanisation must be mastered properly.
  • La Confédération Paysanne (a French farmers' union member of the European peasant coordination Via Campesina). WHY ? On the pretext of power production with digester, the agro-industry and partners, think that today it's normal to cultivate some corn and cereal in order to produce energy. They want lands to produce food.
  • New comers in agriculture who want to become farmers WHY ? Because in France, The debt for the farmers is very high, and the number of farmers is decreasing. New farmers must be encouraged, the acquisition of land is difficult.

Evaluation of the intensity of the conflict : 

A demonstration was organised against the project (Cf : Figure 2). Almost 120 people were here to protest. The demonstration was organised by the Confédération Payanne, so it was a peacefull event.

Figure 2 : Demonstration against methanisation project
Source : 

Evaluation of the possible causes of the conflict :

The conflict is probably due to a lack of consideration from the SAFER to the young farmers. It's an economic factor because it was more safe to promote a big exploitation rather than develop new farmers who needs time. This behaviour is indirectly promoted by the government because France wants to encourage Methanisation. Furthermore, the debate between food security and energy is still actual, and harvest land to produce energy is a long talk in France. On one hand, it's good for the hog producer to develop methanisation because he manages his waste and he creates bioenergy, on the other hand, young farmers were underestimated and the exploitation is big enough, in this story, the policy promoted big farms...

Main elements that may preclude conflict resolution or encourage conflict escalation :

A debate between oponents may be a solution. It could be a great idea to share lands, or to associate the production of new young farmers and the methanisation of the hog producer. At least, subsidies from the government to the young farmers could be good, as a compensation. If nothing is done for them, the conflict may be worst.

3. References

Informations about the localisation of the conflict

Informations about the conflict

La France Agricole. Rassemblement contre un projet dans le Morbihan. [online17.02.14.,0,88796506.html (accessed Feb 05, 2017).

Le Parisien. Rassemblement contre un projet de méthanisation dans le Morbihan. [online] 15.02.14. (accessed Feb 05, 2017).

Agrisalon, AFP. Rassemblement contre un projet dans le Morbihan. [online] 16.02.14. (accessed Feb 06, 2017).

Terre-net. La Safer/Bretagne mise en cause dans l'attribution de terres. [online] 28.02.14. (accessed Feb 06, 2017).

Joël Labbé. Rassemblement contre un projet de méthanisation à Saint-Nicolas-du-Tertre. [online] 15.02.14. (accessed Feb 07, 2017).

Informations about the policies wich promotes methanisation

Le télégramme. Méthanisation agricole, Le Foll souligne de nouvelles avancées. [online] 01.02.17. (accessed Feb 07, 2017).