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20 measures to stop the death of birds in power lines

06/27/2021 at 11:03 AM CEST

According to a report by Ecologists in Action, electrocution in power lines is the leading cause of mortality in birds of prey. The Ministry for the Ecological Transition affirms in its latest study that a year die in Spain between 11,000 and 33,000 raptors, but the data only reflects the reality of 11 autonomous communities and there is a lack of data for the Basque Country, Navarra, Extremadura, Madrid, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.

However, associations such as the Friends of the Imperial Eagle Foundation estimate deaths between 192,000 and 337,000 deaths / year due to electrocution and collision. “This large fork is due to the fact that many of the corpses are not located, especially by collision.” In fact, a study by SEO / BirdLife estimates that 86.6% of birds that are injured or killed disappear without being counted. Other organizations such as the Association of Southeast Naturalists, Ecologists in Action, Naturactúa, Meles, Anida, Ulula and Stipa, point out that only 3% of birds killed by electrocution and collision are detected.

“We are facing a threat to biodiversity on a large scale, which we must study, assess, report and stop, so that electricity companies and individuals adapt to the obligation of the law and put anti-electrocution and anti-collision measures on their lines, since they are the only ones responsible for these thousands of deaths, ”says the Ecologists in Action report.

The conservation group has launched a plan with 20 measures to try to eradicate this threat against the Spanish birds.

1.- Law enforcement, especially Law 42/2007, of December 13, on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity, Law 26/2007, of October 23, on Environmental Responsibility, Royal Decree 1432/2008 and Resolution of October 15, 2010 of the Conselleria de Medi Ambient (Valencian Community), on protection of birds from electrocutions and collisions.

two.- Current legislative change to adjust to the reality of the moment (very high mortality of Endangered or Vulnerable species), which affects all power lines and making the producer responsible for the death of birds (electricity companies and individuals). In particular, Royal Decree 1432/2008, the Resolution of October 15, 2010, etc. must be reviewed or modified. on protection of birds against collision and electrocution.

3.- Cancellation of the Administration’s agreements with electricity companies, where the problem is minimized and the electricity companies are exempted from their total responsibility, including the obligation to rectify the supports in a preventive manner.

4.- A Technical plan for rectification and conditioning of supports and power lines, both short-term (maximum 1 year), medium (maximum 3 years) and long-term (maximum 5 years), regardless of the immediate actions to be carried out (in days, in the case of electrocutions).

5.- In a line where the death of a bird has occurred due to electrocution, anti-electrocution and anti-collision elements will be placed throughout the line, preventing and anticipating new electrocutions.

6.- All new line constructions must have in the pre-construction reports the obligation of analyze as potential impact the effect on birds.

7.- Enhance underground lines. The lines will be buried in areas with high mortality or the possibility of electrocution / collision of birds, following the layout of the communication routes (roads, tracks or paths), to avoid environmental and health impacts. For example, in the case of the installation of MAT (Very High Voltage lines) and other lines. In the cases indicated by a technical report, the lines are made with insulated and braided cable to reduce deaths, very effectively.

8.- The installation of power lines between forest masses, whose cables are below the height of the trees, will not be allowed. The lines must always be above the trees and they must be indicated with anti-collision material and the supports with anti-electrocution material.

9.- Rectification of supports and lines preventively, especially those located in areas with a large influx and concentration of birds, dispersal areas, wetlands, etc., including urbanized areas and lines near urban centers and industrialized areas.

10.- The supports and newly installed power lines will always have the isolating and signaling elements necessary, prohibiting dangerous and non-insulated designs.

11.- The dangerous designs of old facilities (crosshead type with vertical insulators, cables above the crosshead, vault-type supports, type «T»), must be corrected in a short period of time, and with the utmost urgency the supports that carry transformers and derivations will be rectified which greatly increases the danger of the laying.

12.- Immediately rectify all electrical supports where the death of birds has occurred, avoiding new deaths; otherwise, notify the Prosecutor’s Office. In the event that due to technical circumstances the entire line cannot be rectified, all the supports with a dangerous structure on the line will be modified at least.

13.- In the case of subsidies for rectification of support dangerous or with bird deaths, these will only be accessible to individuals, after a report of the capacity to carry out the work, leaving out the multinationals and large electricity companies, which must necessarily make the rectifications with their own funds.

14.- Monitoring of electrical lines and supports in a systematic way by administration personnel, operators or owners of the power lines, in order to locate the “black spots” and have them rectified immediately.

fifteen.- Mandatory reporting of the finding of a dead bird when thinning tasks are carried out under power lines, by operators of power companies. As well as the obligation to report death by electrocution to the provincial prosecutor’s office for all deaths of cataloged bird species.

16.- Semiannual monitoring of rectified lines and with a greater impact on the fauna, because it has been shown that many of the anti-electrocution and collision elements deteriorate or shift over time, making rectification ineffective.

17.- All the administrations involved will carry a single record of animals killed by electrocution and collision, among other causes of death or injuries, which will be complete and updated.

18.- They must the lists of dead birds be public due to electrocution and collision, including other causes, in order to be consulted by citizens and conservation associations.

19.- It should increase the level of communication and cooperation of all the administrations involved, local, provincial and regional, as well as the administration of justice and prosecution, including the Ombudsman, etc., having direct access to the database of mortality of vertebrates due to power lines and other causes.

twenty.- Increase the level of awareness and involvement of the owners and operators of the electricity companies and the general public, on the issue of the loss of biodiversity due to the continuous death of fauna by electrocution, collision, drowning, run over and hunting, making visible the issues that affect birds and ecosystems and indirectly to the whole of society.

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