Reducing bird mortality caused by high-voltage power lines in Belgium
Field evaluation of high-risk line from Elia network
High- and very-high-voltage power lines have been identified as a major human-induced source of mortality for birds. When birds fly in large groups, or in poor visibility conditions, they can collide with these structures, in some instances in sufficiently large numbers to raise concern. Elia, as the power transmission system operator in Belgium, intends to identify its own overhead power lines that present a serious collision risk for birds in order to prioritize implementation of diversion devices on these lines. To carry out this prioritization exercise and identify the most dangerous power line for bird collision, Elia works since 2011 in collaboration with the main bird conservation associations in Belgium.
The present project is a follow-up of a previous work "Reducing bird mortality with high and very high voltage power lines in Belgium". In the first report, the high-resolution mapping of the distribution of collision-sensitive species was used to identify power lines pylons according to the potential risk of collision. For every Elia pylons, a cumulative risk score was calculated on basis of the presence of sensitive species or the distance to particular bird areas. According to this work, high-risk pylons (risk score higher than 50) accounted for 3.4 % of the whole Elia network in Belgium.