Life SafeLines4Birds project

SafeLines4Birds is a 6-year project co-financed by European Union’s LIFE Programme which aims to reduce non-natural mortality of 13 birds species along power lines in France, Belgium and Portugal. 

Why is this project important?

SafeLines4BirdsMajor threats to some bird species include collisions with power lines, electrocution, and disturbances during their breeding season. These threats cause the deaths of millions of individuals in Europe yearly and in some cases seriously threaten the viability of species populations.  

Some European species are more vulnerable given their size, morphology, behaviour, and distribution. Thus, the project targets 13 species most impacted by power lines in France, Belgium and Portugal: Little Bustard, Bearded Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Lesser Kestrel, Common Crane, Osprey, White Stork, Black Stork, Eurasian Woodcock, Eurasian Curlew, Northern Lapwing.  

SafeLines4Birds project relies on four main goals: 

  • Reducing bird collision 
  • Reducing bird electrocution 
  • Reducing bird disturbance 
  • Improving and sharing knowledge across Europe  

Avian Collision Avoidance SystemTo tackle collision, the project aims to install 3,880 anti-collision diverters on the most dangerous sites. However, those devices are not suitable in all situations and their success rate varies according to species or geographical factors. Therefore, new anti-collision devices will be tested, such as the American ultra-violet Avian Collision System Avoidance system (ACAS), which uses shining UV light on power lines to make them more visible to birds at night. Moreover, innovative installation methods of collision avoidance devices will be tested within the project, such as the use of drones. In some cases, lines will be placed underground to completely eliminate the risk of collision and electrocution in particularly high-risk areas.

There is a strong scientific consensus that the risk of bird electrocution depends on the technical construction and detailed design of electric facilities. In order to reduce this risk, dangerous power poles will be retrofitted and insulated, and deterrence devices installed at the higher risk sites. Platforms and perches will also be set up to protect birds that roost or nest.  

Finally, to avoid disturbance, grid maintenance and surveillance methodologies will be adapted – where possible in line with the breeding periods of the target species – to improve their breeding success. As much as possible, flying over breeding sites will be avoided and use of helicopters will be limited.  
All results collected will be shared in an open and standardised way, benefiting the understanding about bird-grid interactions and the effectiveness of the tested mitigation measures. A SafeLines4Birds open digital platform will be created to centralise all technical information gathered during the project. This will facilitate the dissemination of knowledge regarding technical innovations and equipment across Europe and, through this, support the replication of actions in other countries.  

The success of these actions relies on the collaboration of 15 consortium partners, which include Transmission System Operators (TSO), Distribution System Operators (DSO), NGOs and scientific experts from France, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and the United States. 

Who are the partners?

Relying on existing partnerships in France, Belgium and Portugal, the project is coordinated by the Ligue Pour La Protection des Oiseaux (LPO France), the French branch of BirdLife. The other French partners are Enedis (French DSO), Réseau De Transport D'électricité – RTE (French TSO), LPO Pays De La Loire, LPO Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, LPO Occitanie and LPO Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (local NGOs). Those partners created in 2004 the Avifauna National Committee that aims to reduce the impacts of energy infrastructure on biodiversity and initiated the project SafeLines4Birds. In Portugal the project partners are the Sociedade Portuguesa Para O Estudo das Aves - SPEA (NGO) and E-Redes (Portuguese DSO), and in Belgium Natuurpunt, Natagora (NGOs) and Elia (Belgian TSO). 

Joining those partners, EDM International, a US-based corporation, brings a team of wildlife biologists and avian specialists to the consortium. BIOPOLIS-CIBIO is a Portuguese research centre associated to the University of Porto contributing to the project with their expertise on the biodiversity impacts of energy infrastructure through collaborations with TSOs and DSOs in Portugal and across Europe. Finally, RGI brings its expertise in facilitating multi-stakeholder exchanges between diverse partners and its extensive experience coordinating and implementing activities related to the communication and dissemination of projects.  
This website uses cookies to provide you with an optimal browsing experience. Some cookies are strictly necessary for the operation of this website and cannot be rejected, while others are used for analytical/functional/targeting purposes and can be rejected. For more information, please consult ourCookie Policy . You can manage/change your cookie preferences at any time. If you do not manage your preferences, only the cookies which are strictly necessary will be accepted.