Guidelines on How to Avoid or Mitigate Impact of Electricity Power Grids on Migratory Birds in the African-Eurasian Region


CMS Technical Series No. 29
CMS Raptors MOU Technical Publication No. 3
AEWA Technical Series No. 50

These guidelines offer various technical and legislative approaches for avoiding or mitigating the impact of electrocution and collision of migratory birds across the African-Eurasian region as well as suggestions for assessing and monitoring the effectiveness of mitigation and preventive measures.

To minimise the effects of power lines on birds, each country should take the following steps:

Step 1: Develop and support strategic long term planning of nationwide electricity grid networks, including putting low to medium voltage power lines below ground. Apply appropriate Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) procedures for decisions on the need of power lines on a national scale and apply similar appropriate Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) procedures on the construction of a power line once it has been decided that such a power line is needed. Aspects of the risk for bird collision and electrocution should be integrated into the EA procedures. For more details on how to apply SEA and EIA procedures we refer to AEWA Conservation Guidelines No. 11 (2008): Guidelines on how to avoid, minimise or mitigate impact of infrastructural developments and related disturbance affecting waterbirds; AEWA Technical Series No. 261 .

Step 2: Develop and support collaboration between all stakeholders (utility companies, conservationists, governmental organisations, landowners) through support of Memoranda of Understanding on a volunteer basis, for example, or, if necessary, impose obligatory cooperation of utility companies for strategic planning and mitigation of negative effects on birds through legislation.

Step 3: Develop scientifically based databases and spatial datasets on the presence of protected areas and other key bird areas and presence of susceptible bird species, including flight routes of these species between breeding, feeding and resting areas as well as important migration corridors. These datasets enhance strategic planning in steps 1 and 2 and define priorities in step 4. If no data are available, such as from regular national bird monitoring projects, then field data must be collected for a minimum of one year.

Step 4: Routing new above ground power lines away from key areas for birds, taking into account the presence of protected areas (with either a national or international status), abiotic factors that influence the bird/power line conflicts and the susceptibility of relevant bird species.

Step 5: Develop lists of key conservation areas and species in order to identify priorities for mitigating sections of new power lines and retrofitting existing power lines.

Step 6: Mitigate problematic sections of power lines, both existing and planned, to minimise the effects of electrocution and collisions on birds by using state-of-the-art techniques.

Step 7: Develop and support evaluation programmes that use standardised protocols to monitor the effectiveness of mitigation measures as well as to improve mitigation techniques, including monitoring of incidents (electrocution and collision) and the presence and movements of birds in order to assess the (species-specific) scale of impact.

Related content

Author(s)H.A.M. Prinsen; J.J. Smallie; G.C. Boere; N. Píres
Published DateMay 2012
Publication LanguageEnglish
PublisherCoordinating Unit of the Raptors MoU, AEWA Secretariat
Technical Series
CMS InstrumentAEWA, Birds of Prey (Raptors), CMS
CMS tagsGuideline