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ZEPA eléct. Aragón - Adaptation of the electric power lines in the SPA of Aragón

LIFE04 NAT/ES/000034

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Ana Isabel LASHERAS MEAVILLA
Tel: +37976714000
Fax: +34976714817

Project description:


Located in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula, Aragón is one of the largest and less populated regions of Spain. It comprises three different geographical districts: the central Pyrenees to the north, the Ebro plain in the centre and the Iberian system to the south. Together, they host many important bird species associated with alpine, steppe and Mediterranean habitat types. To protect this ornithological richness, the regional government of Aragón (the LIFE project beneficiary) has designated a total of 50 SPAs, (special protection areas) within the Natura 2000 network, covering a surface of over 874 hectares (874.67 ha) i.e. 18.2% of the region’s total area. Among the threatened birds found within the SPA network, the following six are priority species for conservation: the bittern (Botaurus stellaris); lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni); bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus); Bonelli's eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus); great bustard (Otis tarda); and little bustard (Tetrax tetrax). Action plans have been drawn up for all these species with electrocution and/or collision with power lines identified as a main threat.

Aragón is also a region that produces and exports hydroelectric and thermal energy, for which an extensive power line network has been developed that runs across the SPA network. Bird species from steppe, riparian and wetland areas are adversely affected by the overhead power lines, so too are the breeding and nesting areas for raptors and waterfowl. Previous monitoring had identified the need for interventions to protect the birds over some 829 km of power lines affecting 30 SPAs across the region.


The project’s overall aim was to implement a strategy, devised by the government of Aragón, for the adaptation of the overhead electric power line network to the conservation needs of 16 SPAs in the region. The main actions would involve establishing agreements with the main electricity companies – Erz Endesa and REE (Red Eléctrica de España) and with private owners – for the introduction of corrective measures on some 350 km of power lines (994 pylons) to avoid electrocution and collision risks to threatened bird species. Regional legislation would be drawn up and implemented to ensure the integration of these preventive measures into the design and installation of new power lines. Various information activities would be implemented over the course of the project to raise awareness of the dangers to birds from overhead power lines.


The project was very successful and exceeded its original objectives. Thanks to the LIFE project actions, 60% of the dangerous power lines identified at the start of the project in the 16 initially targeted SPAs were modified to mitigate the threats from electrocution and/ or collision. A further 20% of dangerous power lines were tackled in two additional SPAs. An impressive reduction of initial deaths by 87.7% was achieved (this included a reduction of 93.7% of the risk of electrocution and a 50% reduction in the collision risk).

Modification works involved actions across 60 power lines running over 325 km in 18 of the Aragón region SPAs; some 5.9 km of buried power lines were constructed and overhead lines were dismantled over 18.3 km. Between 2004 and 2008 long-term collaboration agreements were established and renewed with the electricity companies involved. Importantly, a new electro-technical regulation has been introduced (Decree 34/2005, which applies to all new power lines, including the modifications and renewal of existing ones.

Among the project’s dissemination activities, more than 20 newspaper and other media items have appeared concerning the project activities. The project published two leaflets: “Constructive solutions for the protection of birdlife in transport electric power lines” (for technicians); and “Modification of dangerous electric power lines for birdlife in Aragón: (for administrators). It also published two practical manuals: “Constructive solutions for the protection of birdlife in transport electric power lines” (a practical manual devised in collaboration with Erz Endesa, covering the design of power lines and different materials needed to comply with the new electro-technical regulation); and “LIFE Experience: Modification of dangerous electric power lines for birdlife in Aragón” (a technical document focusing on the experiences gained by the LIFE project).

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


endangered species‚  nature conservation‚  environmental impact of energy

Target Habitat types

  • 01 - Unknown (site without information)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Dirección General de Desarrollo Sostenible y Biodiversidad. Gobierno de Aragón
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The beneficiary is responsible for biodiversity and the environment within the regional government of Aragón, located in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula.
Partners Endesa, Spain REE, Spain


Project reference LIFE04 NAT/ES/000034
Duration 01-JAN-2004 to 31-DEC -2008
Total budget 2,082,923.00 €
EU contribution 1,249,754.00 €
Project location Aragón(España)


Read more:

Leaflet "Hacia una red de tendidos eléctricos inocua para ...
Leaflet "Adecuación de Tendidos eléctricos en las ZEPAS de ...
Project web site Project's website (ES)
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan (ES)
Publication: Case study "Experiencia: Adecuación de Tendidos eléctricos co ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (ES)
Publication: Technical report "Soluciones constructivas para la protección de la ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version