Lines in protected areas

Considering the importance of the proximity of protected areas or in any case of natural interest for the risk of a negative impact by Terna’s plants on birdlife, the interaction between lines and such areas is constantly monitored. Given the extension of the grid all over Italy, the main instrument for identifying the critical stretches of line is a complete territorial database with data from ministries and the Regions. These data were acquired through data-exchange protocols for the purpose of applying the SEA to the NTG Developmenti Plan. The data collected were harmonized and inserted in a standard cartographic system at the national level. In addition to the location of electric lines, the main information contained in the data base regards geological, hydro-geological, naturalistic, and landscape aspects, including:    

  • degree of sismicity
  • climate data
  • polluted sites
  • the official list of protected areas, fluvial parks, natural parks, reserves, terrestrial and marine national parks 
  • sites of community importance (SCIs) and special protection zones (SPZ)
  • important bird areas (IBA)
  • landscape-risk map  
  • legislative restrictions and administrative boundaries.


After the georeferentiation of the about 18,500 km of new high-voltage lines acquired in 2009, in 2010 Terna repeated the inventory of the possible interference of its lines and protected areas or ones with a high level of biodiversity, combining the data regarding the electric grid with the environmental ones contained in the database through the most accredited GIS (Geographic Information System) instruments. Considering all the kinds of protected areas established by different laws (national and regional parks, national and regional reserves, SCIs – sites of Community importance, SPZ – special protection zones, etc.) and eliminating overlaps, 9.7% of Terna’s grid (about 5,469 km) crosses protected areas for stretches that range from a few hundred meters to several tens of kilometers. The controlled extension of the grid led to a reduction of almost two points in the percentage of stretches of line that interfere with protected areas with respect to 2007 (11.4%).   

In all, net of overlaps, protected areas cover 22.3% of Italy’s territory.