Conciliation meeting at national level between the Romanian electricity transmission network operators and nongovernmental bird protection organizations

Overhead power lines have a strong influence on wild bird populations. In some cases this influence is a positive one, like in the case of Saker Falcon population from the Carpathian Basin, which breeds mostly on high voltage pylons. Unfortunately negative interactions are more frequent than positive ones, because tens of thousands of birds die yearly by electrocution on the medium voltage pylons. Electrocution is one of the most important risk factors for White Storks and many raptor birds. At the same time bird electrocution on pylons generate lots of power-cuts for the electricity suppliers, thus both parts are interested in resolving this problem.

There are technical solutions to resolve the problem of electrocution, like isolating medium voltage pylons. Until now, to reduce mortality of wild birds, several short sections of power lines were isolated in different regions from Romania. Milvus Group is partner in two projects financed by the EU through Life+ programme, in which power line isolation activities are provided. These works have already started in the conservation of the Lesser Spotted Eagle project. In the frame of the Saker Falcon conservation project certain parts of the medium voltage network - which are considered dangerous for this species - will be isolated. These works are very important for the targeted species in the areas of intervention, but we are aware that these local actions won`t resolve the problem on the national level.

This is the reason why, with the help of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, we convoked the first meeting where representatives from every electricity supplier company from Romania participated. The meeting was held in 14 December 2011, the main topics presented and discussed were: - birds and power lines interactions, the actual status of Saker Falcon conservation, the objectives of the Life project implemented for the conservation of this species, the laws regarding this issues, methods for mounting artificial nests on high voltage pylons, different techniques of isolation of medium voltage pylons. Besides the electricity companies, our Romanian project partner, Romanian Ornithological Society, and several partners from Hungary also participated on this meeting. The Hungarian partners presented the successful collaboration between bird conservation organizations and electricity suppliers.

We hope that this meeting was just the first step in a long process which will result in a safe Romanian medium voltage network for Saker Falcons, Lesser Spotted Eagles and other birds. The representative of Ministry of Environment and Forests declared that according to the existing national legislation and the international conventions signed by Romania, we are liable to solve these problems. He proposed to form a working group, composed by the representatives of the electricity companies, the relevant state authorities and the non-governmental organisations working on wild bird conservation. The scope of this working group, which would meet annually as many times as necessary, will be to find viable solutions to resolve these problems.

The presentations given in the meeting and the list of participants can be downloaded from here

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