Entornointeligente.com / Experts say electrocution on power lines is a major threat to many wild birds, especially endangered species that use poles as perches. (ARCHIVES) Two storks arrive at their nest on top of an electric post in Palos de la Frontera near Huelva, southwestern Spain, February 14, 2006. (AFP) Prosecutors in Barcelona sued energy giant Endesa for the deaths of hundreds of birds electrocuted by their high voltage lines.
According to the lawsuit, the copy of which was seen by AFP on Wednesday, prosecutors are suing the concessionaire for crimes against the environment and wildlife.
They say the company has failed to properly insulate its electricity cables and poles, creating “a death trap” for birds.
Electrocution occurs when birds touch two wires at a time or when they perch on a conducting pole while also touching a cable.
In their complaint, prosecutors said 255 birds died in the Osona region, north of Barcelona, between 2018 and 2020, including protected species such as white storks, griffins, short eagles and vultures.
“The electrocution and death of birds due to direct contact with the conductors exposed on the posts owned by the defendant affected the entire province of Barcelona, constituting a real plague,” says the complaint.
Contacted by AFP, Endesa said it “has not yet formally received the complaint” with a company source claiming that the company acted “in full compliance with the law on environmental issues and especially in relation to birdlife”.
Between 2018 and 2020, the company modified more than 2,000 poles and this year will invest “4.6 million euros in Catalonia in adapting transmission lines to protect birdlife,” said the source.
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According to the lawsuit, Endesa “has not taken measures to repair the affected (parts) that do not comply with safety measures … deliberately disregarding and ignoring its legal obligations to prevent damage to fauna and the environment”.
In August 2018, 72 white storks died in three days, when a flock of 700 stopped in the area while migrating south in an incident involving 34 posts owned by Endesa, “which had not been isolated by the company”, as was legally mandatory, he said.
Despite repeated legal demands, Endesa, a subsidiary of the Italian energy giant Enel, has not taken the necessary steps to repair the posts to prevent “the ongoing, evident and avoidable death of birds in the Barcelona area,” he said.
But the Endesa source told AFP that he modified “more than 2,000 poles” between 2018 and 2020 and that this year he will invest “4.6 million euros in Catalonia to adapt transmission lines to protect avifauna”.
According to a 2010 study by experts from the University of Barcelona, the most dangerous posts are those with wires or connectors above the crosspieces that are located in habitats where there are few natural places for birds to land.
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Source: TRTWorld and agencies
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