Lines in protected areas

Considering the importance of nearby protected areas or in any case ones of natural interest in determining the risk that Terna’s infrastructure will have a negative impact on birdlife, the interaction between lines and such areas is constantly monitored. Given that the grid extends all over Italy, the main instrument for identifying the critical line is a complete database containing data from ministries and regional governments. These data were acquired through data-exchange protocols for the purpose of applying the SEA to the NTG Developmenti Plan. The data collected were standardised and inserted in a standard cartographic system at the national level. In addition to the location of electric lines, the database provides information on aspects mainly regarding geology, hydrogeology, nature, and the landscape, including:

  • seismicity level;
  • climate data;
  • polluted sites in Italy;
  • the official list of protected areas, fluvial and other natural parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and land and marine national parks;
  • sites of EU interest and special protection areas;
  • Important Bird Areas (IBA);
  • a map of landscape risk;
  • legislative restrictions and administrative borders.

With the support of its database, in 2007 Terna made an inventory of the possible interferences of its lines and protected areas or ones with a high degree of biodiversity, comparing the data regarding the grid with environmental ones through the most reliable GIS (Geographic Information System) instruments. Considering all the kinds of protected areas established by different laws – regional and national parks, regional and national wildlife sanctuaries, areas of EU interest, special protection areas – and eliminating the overlaps, 11.4% of Terna’s grid (about 4,400 km) was found to cross a protected area for anything from a few hundred metres to several tens of kilometres. For the sake of comparison, it should be noted that the aforesaid protected areas, net of overlaps, amount to 22.1% of Italy’s land surface.

During the three-year period 2007-2009, no construction/demolition work on infrastructure in protected areas substantially modified the result of this census. In any case, the inventory will be updated in 2010 after all the approximately 18,500 km of new high-voltage lines acquired in April 2009 from Enel and currently owned by Terna’s subsidiary TELAT have been georeferenced.