According to environmental organizations, only by applying the current legislation “properly” would it be possible to stop the “high mortality” of birds on power lines: almost 33,000 a year in Spain according to a study by the Ministry of the Environment, which three years ago put figures for the first time on this drain for birds. Seven environmental NGOs have now transferred to the Ministry of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Environment a plan with ten measures that would solve this problem in three years, which in the Region of Murcia would be killing annually between 600 and 6,000 individuals of different species, but especially raptors, warn conservationists.
The report sent to the Autonomous Community by the Association of Naturalists of the Southeast (ANSE), Ecologists in Action, Naturactúa, Meles, Anida, Ulula and Stipa warns about the seriousness of electrocutions of wildlife for biodiversity: “Despite the uncertainty in the total number of individuals affected, it is evident that the mortality rate is unaffordable and is the main cause of death in many species, particularly in protected raptors. These figures contrast with the income declared in the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Center, which indicates that it is a serious problem that is underestimated; surely only 3% of the cases are registered “, the ecologists lament.
Data from the Ministry (according to fieldwork provided by forestry engineers M. Angeles Soria and Francisco Guil Celada) placed the Region as the second black point in the country in mortality in power lines, only behind Zaragoza, with more than 7,000 birds per year, although the regional government only admits 588 in the period 2012-2016, temporal scope of the investigation.
The Autonomous Community and Iberdrola presented in May 2019 an agreement by which the energy company would correct 7,532 dangerous supports for birds in high voltage lines. The program was endowed with 20 million euros until 2025.
A royal decree of 2008 requires that all power lines installed from that year are safe for birds, and also establishes that it is necessary to improve those that, crossing protected spaces, offer risk of shock or electrocution. But more than ten years later, thousands of kilometers of cables, turrets and supports remain a death trap. The Official Gazette of the Autonomous Community published in the summer of 2018 the list of dangerous lines: 267, which then amounted to more than 1,600 kilometers. The correction of a support has a cost of about a thousand euros, according to Iberdrola.
Then, the ten measures proposed by environmentalists to solve the mortality of birds in the lines:
1. Review and correction of existing lines, especially those that cross protected areas and their surroundings.
2. Improvement of human and material resources of environmental agents to detect the most dangerous lines.
3. Elaboration of a map of black points of electrocution and collision.
Four. Complete evaluation of lines or extensive sections to minimize the number of files to be processed.
5. Transfer of the competences of the files to legal officials of Environmental Discipline establishing two possible routes depending on the ownership: opening of sanctioning file in case of supply companies and modification instruction for private lines in the first electrocution (application of Law 26/2007 ).
6. Illegality of the agreements established with the electricity companies to avoid the opening of disciplinary proceedings (according to the Official Letter of the Chamber of the General Attorney for the Environment of the Supreme Court of 07/29/2019)
7. Expansion of the territorial scope of the area for the protection of birds against electrocution to the entire territory of the Region.
8. Integration of the risk of electrocution in the triennial reviews of power lines by Industry.
9. Requirement of burying new lines, especially those of new solar park projects.
10. Approval of a decree for the valuation of fauna species that determines the economic value of each specimen killed by electrocution.
The application of these measures would suppose less than 1% of the benefits of the electrical sector, according to environmental NGOs. In return, “enormous benefits would be obtained in the conservation of biodiversity, minimizing the main cause of death of protected and threatened species, minimizing public funds allocated to recovery programs and guaranteeing human well-being through the ecosystem services that this community develops. group: control of agricultural damage caused by rabbits, curbing the proliferation of diseases, removal of corpses and regulation of rodent populations “, they defend.