In charge of the site, the Cyrus One data center operator must conduct an environmental survey itself with an impact study, with elected municipal officials deciding on the project.
New twist in the case of the Amazon data center in Wissous in Essonne. A giant data center project announced by JDN on September 18. Following the refusal of the community’s mayor to grant construction permits aimed at tripling the area of the complex’s computer rooms (refusal motivated by energy and environmental impact of the project), the prefecture of Essonne filed a referral to April denounces this denial.
While the verdict has not yet been given, a twist: during the municipal council on September 29, the mayor of Wissous voted for a deliberation on a revision of the local urban plan. Purpose: to allow, in the areas concerned, the establishment of an activity within the scope of ICPEs (or installations classified as environmental protection). A necessary authorization to grant the building permits in question. “There is deliberation to ensure that Cyrus One conducts an environmental investigation with an impact study followed by a public inquiry so that all the population can give their opinion. At the end of these investigations, the The municipal council has to rethink about the agreement or the rejection of the project”, refers to JDN Laetitia Hamon, director of the cabinet of the mayor of Wissous.
The financing works on the balance sheet
Why not call an independent organization to conduct the environmental investigation? The mayor’s office did not answer our question. “Organizing a public inquiry based on an environmental study carried out by Cyrus One is a matter of conflict of interest. How can you really trust the objectivity of the numbers provided by the main sponsor”, protested Philippe de Fruy, councilor of the municipality of the opposition without a label and president of the association “Wissous notre ville”, which promotes the quality of life in Wissous.
“We buy the health of the people of Wissoussians”
In the last municipal councils addressing the subject, it was clearly indicated that Cyrus One promised the “funding of the works” (first the construction of a football stadium, and now the road works) against the approval of projects of elected officials. “Because of the heat emitted by the data center and the discharges from the 15 emergency generators planned, which are not equipped with filters, we are only buying the health of the people of Wissoussians”, Philippe de Fruy calmly recalled data center is located less than a hundred meters from a collective reception for minors.
And it’s not over yet. “During the municipal council on September 29, the elected officials did not have the numbers of the plots with respect to the preparation documents. During the voting, I therefore abstained, without all the information necessary to decide and consider the importance of the file”, acknowledges Jean-Luc Touly, municipal councilor in charge of public relations, water and sanitation. The revision of the local urban plan also followed the request from the prefect in writing. A letter that, too, was not brought to the attention of elected officials. “Therefore, we do not know what are the reasons that motivated the prefecture”, added Philippe de Fruy, before specifying: “Upstream of the refusal of building permits, the prefect gave permission to operate two new rooms .”
Preparing the ground for phase 3?
The municipal council of Wissous therefore approved the revision of the PLU without knowing the scope and without knowing the arguments presented by the prefect. “We discovered the frameworks concerned when the deliberation was posted by the Town Hall”, reveals Philippe de Fruy. “We were surprised to see that they not only covered the two new rooms, but also covered the area of the third and final phase of the project, that is, the installation of three more rooms.”
On the side of the mayor’s office, it is maintained that the policy remains the same. “If the municipality loses the dispute over the denial of the building permit (facing the prefect, editor’s note), the municipality will be forced to apply the original construction permit, without modification, and above all with all the environmental impacts that led to the rejection. The method (bringing together deliberation, environment and public inquiry, editor’s note) makes it possible to predict the outcome of the trial which could be catastrophic for Wissous”, underlined Laetitia Hamon.
Meanwhile, the collective for the natural space of Montjean, made up of associations, elected officials and citizens of the towns of Wissous, Fresnes and Rungis, took over the file. It relied on independent experts to study the file with the aim of informing the population as much as possible about the project. Below, JDN has published a preview of the information note that the collective will soon distribute.