On the 8 and 9 November, our partner Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) organised an in-person workshop in Berlin within the framework of SafeLines4Birds. Multiple civil society organisations from across Europe and beyond gathered to discuss the status quo of bird protection along power lines and the steps needed towards a truly bird-friendly electricity grid.
The first part of the event was dedicated to presentations from the experts. The Raptor Protection Slovakia kicked off the event by giving an overview of the mitigation practices used in European countries to tackle bird collision and electrocution, based on the study they conducted with NABU (BirdLife Germany) in 2021.
Secondly, Amprion (German TSO) and the Vulture Conservation Foundation shared their own efforts and experiences in the challenges of implementing mitigation strategies in their respective work. To finish the day, RGI presented their collaborative Bird Portal project in Germany and the joint ‘Impulses for Action’ developed in the wake of a national conference held in 2022.
On the second day of the workshop, a special session on the topic of sensitivity mapping was held. Sensitivity mapping is a crucial tool to identify the critical areas for bird species where new power line construction should be avoided and where mitigation should be prioritised. The input from BirdLife International on their AVISTEP tool showed the application of sensitivity mapping at a larger scale. Additionally, Natagora (BirdLife Belgium - Wallonia) and MME (BirdLife Hungary) shared their methodology on the risk maps they elaborated in their respective countries.
Finally, tying all the lessons and discussion together, the workshop ended with participatory sessions. NGO participants shared their experiences on the barriers they encounter when it comes to implementing solutions and formulated these into common challenges. Secondly, the discussions focussed on what solutions the NGO community considers to be priority in order to tackle those barriers.
The outcomes of the discussions will be summarised in a document shared publicly and disseminated at the European and Member State levels. This joint set of principles from European civil society will be presented and discussed at a follow-up workshop in 2024, where grid operators and NGOs from across Europe will be invited. This event aims to facilitate the interactions and foster new collaborations between NGOs, DSOs and TSOs, which is essential for a bird-friendly electricity system.
You can find all presentations and recordings held at the workshop on RGI website.