Saturday, December 4

The Prosecutor’s Office demands that Endesa fix “urgently” the lines that electrocute the birds

Almost half a year has passed since the Prosecutor’s Office filed a complaint against Endesa for the hundreds of birds that have died electrocuted on its power lines and towers and the problem remains unsolved. This is confirmed by the delegate prosecutor for the Environment of Catalonia, Antoni Pelegrín, who has asked the judge of Vic (Barcelona) who is investigating the case to order the company to adopt “with the greatest urgency the appropriate measures to correct the defects” in the towers that kill birds.

After several months of investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office sued Endesa and six of its managers in Catalonia in April for allowing a “real plague” of electrocuted birds with an epicenter in the Osona region, where between 2018 and 2020 there were 255 documented cases of electrocution, according to information from Rural Agents.

After filing the complaint, the electrocutions of birds have been repeated: the prosecutor documents up to 34 dead birds in different municipalities of Osona and nearby regions, for which he has asked the judge to adopt precautionary measures to force Endesa to correct the deficiencies of network. It does so by virtue of the article of the Penal Code that allows ordering measures during the investigation with the aim of “restoring the disturbed ecological balance.”

Endesa sources have recalled that for years the company has been carrying out different works to adapt power lines to protect birds and that in 2021 it will invest in Catalonia more than 4.6 million euros in the adaptation of supports and the installation of devices insulators. The agreement signed by the Generalitat and Endesa contemplates that it will be the administration that communicates the points of the electrical network that must be corrected and that later the multinational will install the isolating devices to protect the birds.

The filing of the complaint occurred after the prosecutor addressed two requests to Endesa in 2018 and 2019, and another five in 2020, to fulfill its obligations to repair the power lines. The prosecutor said that Endesa limited itself to “very specific” arrangements and installed protectors on power lines “only in the most serious cases of recidivism.”

While waiting to make a decision on the precautionary measure claimed by the prosecutor, the judge has commissioned an expert report from the Catalan Institute of Ornithology (ICO) on the state of the power lines, one of the steps requested by Pelegrín in his complaint. As the investigation progresses, the prosecutor understands that Endesa must fix the lines that pose “an obvious danger of electrocution for the fauna.”

In his letter, Pelegrín lists up to 34 electrocuted birds located by the Rural Agents since the filing of the complaint. Half of them are white storks, but there are also other protected species such as two eagles or five vultures. In addition, the prosecutor reports that in one of the lines that passes through the municipality of Bellprat, the corrective work carried out by Endesa is “incorrect” in accordance with the provisions of the decree on measures against electrocution of birds approved in 2018.

White storks are the main victims of power lines: between August 3 and 6, 2018, 72 white storks belonging to a flock of 700 birds that made a stop in the Osona region for a night rest in their process were electrocuted. of annual migration to the south of the Iberian Peninsula and Africa. During the migratory passage of 2020, a process that lasts about a month, 44 specimens of electrocuted white storks were collected in different parts of the region, and another 49 at the same time of year 2019. And this August twenty storks died electrocuted in Malars , in the same region, while migrating to Africa.