Culloden in Brittany... Yes...

The Scots have Culloden and its Memorial on the Windswept ridge between Moray Firth and River Nairn, with a sober granite cairn as a sombre reminder of a past that is not always easy for us to live with.

With the sky and the wind around him, the visitor to this ancient battlefield may reflect in silence and dignity on nations' pasts, always relevant to today's world and its current problems.

The Bretons, too, have their Culloden, close to the town of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany. But any future visitor wishing to stop at this site and walk across the lands (moor land), that was the scene of a massacre by the well-armed mercenaries and troops of the french court in 1488, will not find the dignity nor the silence that impresses the tourist on Culloden Moor. He will, instead, be met by a vast rubbish heap - "a site d'enfouissement pour dechets ultimes"...

For the mayors Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier the nearby village of Mézières-sur-Couesnon's are determined to use the old site and its periphery to "meet a public need" (my quote).

Quite naturally, the local population do not agree, particulary as the procedure has not as yet reflected any debate or democracy, but it has also incensed those Bretons who have respect for their history.

Those who oppose this scheme have asked for archaeological research to help define the boundaries of the battle and the rout that followed it. The reply by the "Sictom" de Fougeres', the organisation for collecting and treating household rubbish, is to instigate a dig at the beginning of November. Good, that sounds fair enough... but this field in particular is where no local farmer or his ancestors have ever found any remains of the battle itself, unlike other fields, gardens or copse, which have turned up canon balls, pieces of sword belts, etc, in the past.

Sir Edward de Wydeville, Lord Scales, had come from Isle of Wight with 600 archers to help the Bretons defend their land and what was a thriving economy at the time. He lies, with all his men somewhere on the lands of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier.

Meeting in July 2000 in Saint-Aubin du-Cormier for the Bretons speakers. We can see the modern national flag, Gwenn-ha-Du and the Black Cross on white, which is the oldest flag, the army and navy ones, since the 2nd crusade in the XIIth century.

One can't help feeling that another site should not be too difficult to find. Until now all other mayors of the surrounding 51 Communes concerned by the project have vetoes the project on their own lands. Thre are Nimbys here just as anywhere else. But others sites recently proposed have not pleased the deciders and the project would appear to be going ahead, in spite of public opinion.

It would perhaps be a good idea to consult the public over this problem of rubbish disposal. it would also be a demonstration of democratic procedures, which could help to make us more aware of the downside of the consumer society and all the leftovers it generates. After all, our children's future is involved in our act of opening our dustbin lids each day... Burying rubbish is out of date anyway. Association: Mézières Environnement wed site: