ENERGY company Endesa is being prosecuted in Barcelona over hundreds of birds dying after making contact with the firm’s high voltage power lines and pylons.
The legal action has been led by the city’s environment prosecutor, Antoni Pelegrin, who has been investigating incidents for two years.
Endesa and six of its managers are being prosecuted for environmental crimes and failing to protect wildlife.
The action says that a 2008 national law has been broken which requires ‘appropriate’ protective measures in areas which have overhead high voltage cables.
Prosecutors claim that Endesa failed to adequately insulate its cables and pylons, leading to 255 bird fatalities in the Osona area of Barcelona which is home to a number of protective species including buzzards, eagles, and vultures.
The legal action states: “The electrocution and death of birds due to direct contact with the exposed conductors on pylons owned by the defendant has affected the whole province of Barcelona, constituting a veritable plague.”
A Endesa spokesman told El Pais that it had ‘not yet formally received the complaint’ and that it acted ‘in full compliance with the law in environmental issues and especially birds’.
Between 2018 and 2020, Endesa said that it made changes to over 2,000 pylons and this year alone would be investing €4.6 million in region in making changes to power cables purely to protect birdlife.
According to the lawsuit, Endesa had “not taken measures to repair the affected (parts) that fail to comply with the safety measures… deliberately disregarding and ignoring its legal obligations to prevent harm to wildlife and the environment”.
The prosecutor quotes an incident from 2018 when 72 white storks died over three days when a flock of 700 stopped in the area while migrating south in an incident involving 34 pylons owned by Endesa.
“The pylons had not been insulated by the company breaking its legal obligation,” said Antoni Pelegrin.