Europe and Central Asia
23 Sep 2015

Handbook launch shows how nature conservation and energy interests can work together

Forest corridor with potential for re-use and ecological enhancement © Eric Neuling / NABU
By Finlay Duncan

BirdLife, jointly with its partners in the BESTGRID project, has launched its handbook Protecting Nature in Power Grid Planning.

It demonstrates how grid developers and nature conservation organisations can work together in order to achieve common goals.

Europe faces two key challenges; the threat climate change poses to wildlife, but also the massive investment required in electricity networks in order to develop a sustainable energy system.

The handbook, which forms the second part of a two part volume, highlights that both challenges need not be in conflict with each other. Many grid developers express support for environmental protection policies, such as the creation of protected wildlife areas.

The review builds on lessons from the BESTGRID project as a whole and offers advice on improving engagement between developers, authorities, nature conservation organisations and the public.

Also crucial is the importance of all parties to discuss projects at an early stage, so any issues can be flagged up at a point in which they would be easier to rectify.

The handbook’s launch comes at a crucial time for European nature laws, with the European Commission currently looking into how effective the so-called Nature Directives (the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive) are.

A public consultation, which concluded at the end of July, drew a record breaking response, with more than half a million people calling on the Commission to improve implementation of the directives, rather than re-open them.

The handbook includes a number of practical recommendations and resources for people who want to protect nature and tackle the effects of climate change.

The launch of the BESTGRID handbooks is being held at the project’s final conference "Implementing Projects of Common Interest", which is taking place Wednesday 23 September in Brussels. For more details, or to download copies of the handbooks, click here.

Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.