SOS Tenidos Eléctricos demands new regulations on power lines

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SOS Tenidos Eléctricos urgently demands from MITECO a new regulation on power lines and birds to which it committed
  • The review of Royal Decree 1432/2008, which regulates the correction of dangerous lines for birds, has still not been carried out despite the fact that MITECO committed to publishing a new standard in 2023.
  • The 'State Strategic Plan for Natural Heritage and Biodiversity to 2030' set 2023 as the deadline for the modification of this standard long demanded by the SOS Electric Tendencies Platform.
  • The SOS Electrical Lines Platform calls on MITECO not to continue delaying a measure that would prevent the death of tens of thousands of birds a year in Spain, many of them highly endangered species. Electrocution and collision with power lines is the cause around 50% of bird admissions to Wildlife Recovery Centers.

El Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico (MITECO) ha incumplido el plazo de un año que se otorgó para revisar el Real Decreto 1432/2008, de 29 de agosto, por el que se establecen medidas para la protección de la avifauna contra la colisión y la electrocución en líneas eléctricas de alta tensión, norma que regula la corrección de tendidos eléctricos para la protección de la avifauna en España. En efecto, el Plan estratégico estatal del patrimonio natural y de la biodiversidad a 2030, publicado en el BOE el 30 de diciembre de 2022, establecía que en 2023 debía ser aprobada la modificación del Real Decreto 1432/2008 con el fin de “avanzar en el objetivo de unas líneas eléctricas más seguras para las aves”.

Para conseguirlo, el citado Plan Estratégico concreta expresamente que la revisión del real decreto debe “mejorar la eficacia y eficiencia de las medidas preventivas a implantar, impulsar la adecuación de las líneas existentes a las prescripciones técnicas establecidas en la norma y eliminar la obligatoriedad de financiación pública para la corrección de los tendidos antiguos”.

The 'State strategic plan for natural heritage and biodiversity to 2030' points to the year 2030 as the date by which all lines dangerous to birds have been suitably modified, for which it is essential that a new royal decree be urgently approved. This Strategic Plan is the document that currently sets out the objectives, actions and criteria that should promote the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of nature in Spain.

Unacceptable delay

For the SOS Electrical Lines Platform, made up of nine entities related to nature conservation, immediate action by MITECO is urgently needed after the year 2023 has passed without the approval of something so relevant for the conservation of the biodiversity of our country. such as the review of Royal Decree 1432/2008, as well as the regulatory framework that regulates the installation and impact of power lines.

This legal review is one of the main demands of the SOS Tendidos Platform, understanding that after more than fifteen years since the approval of the royal decree, this regulation in its current wording is still very far from its objective: to effectively solve the problem of the mortality of tens of thousands of birds, including threatened species such as the Iberian imperial eagle, the Bonelli's eagle or the red kite, which die each year after being electrocuted by the poles or colliding with the cables of numerous power lines throughout the country.

The review of Royal Decree 1432/2008 is essential to ensure that its objectives are adapted to other applicable regulations such as the Environmental Responsibility Law of 2007, as well as to clarify and guarantee the inclusion of its contents in industrial sector regulations, requiring its compliance as part of the technical conditions and safety guarantees of all high-voltage power lines, both the new ones to be able to operate, and the old ones to continue doing so.

Furthermore, we must not forget that electrical companies, which are currently making enormous profits, must assume their responsibility and the costs of modifying the lines.

More than three years without news

It is incomprehensible that this issue, which represents a loss of biodiversity of enormous dimensions, continues to be postponed. The SOS Tendidos Eléctricos Platform demands that MITECO, once it has failed to comply with the deadline given in the State Strategic Plan for Natural Heritage and Biodiversity to 2030 to review Royal Decree 1432/2008, not delay this review any further.

It must be remembered that since 2020, MITECO has taken the appropriate steps to have a text of the new standard. Already in September of that year, MITECO itself began a public consultation on the modification of the royal decree, to which we responded with an extensive document of allegations and suggestions, a process of which more than three years later we have not heard again. From the SOS Power Lines Platform we urge MITECO to take a definitive step in this matter and contribute to the solution of one of the greatest threats to birdlife. Likewise, we ask the Ministry of Industry and the main companies that own the power lines to work in favor of an effective and fair regulatory instrument.

Members of the SOS Power Lines Platform (in alphabetical order): Action for the Wild World (AMUS), Spanish Association of Forestry and Environmental Agents (AEAFMA), Ecologists in Action, Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture (FCQ), Group for the Rehabilitation of Native Fauna and its Habitat (GREFA), Quercus Magazine, SEO/BirdLife, Iberian Society for the Study and Conservation of Ecosystems (SIECE) and WWF Spain.

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