The "LIFE Safe Grid for Burgas" project is funded under the European Union LIFE programme. The official and full name of the project is: “Conservation of threatened bird species through retrofiting of hazaurdous overhead power lines around Burgas lakes” (“LIFE20 NAT/BG/001234 LIFE Safe Grid for Burgas”).
Акронимът на английски език в официалната документация е „LIFE Safe Grid for Burgas”.
The project is implemented by the electricity distribution company in Southeast Bulgaria - Elektrorazpredelenie Yug (part of EVN) in partnership with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB).
The project was approved by the European Commission in May 2021. Elektrorazpredelenie Yug is a beneficiary of the project, which has a total value of EUR 5.5 million. In total, 75% of the funds come from the life program of the European Commission and 25% from Elektrorazpredelenie Yug. The planned implementation period of the activities is 2021 - 2026.
The project will be implemented in the wetlands around Burgas, namely Atanasovsko Lake, Burgas Lake, Mandra-Poda Complex and Pomorie Lake, which are located on one of the two main migratory routes of birds in Europe - Via Pontica and are part of NATURA 2000 network in Bulgaria.
The project’s Natura 2000 sites provide suitable conditions for over 330 species that congregate in large number in the area, especially during migration. 117 of these species are included in Annex І of the Bird Directive, 126 species are listed in the Red Data Book (RDB) for Bulgaria, 127 species are of European conservation concern and 15 species are priority for the EC LIFE Programme.
The project shall significantly contribute to preserving the populations on national and European level of the following Annex I bird species of Directive 2009/147/EC some of which are considered as "Priority for funding under LIFE", as agreed by the Ornis Committee (marked with *).
All these species are protected in Bulgaria by the Biodiversity Act (Annexes II and III).
According to the time plan, in the period 2022-2023, technical designs and specifications are developed as well as approval procedures with institutions. Construction and repair works are planned to start in 2023.
This is the second major project that Elektrorazpredelenie Yug will implement under the LIFE programme jointly with BSPB, after the "LIFE for safe grid" project for protection of the globally endangered Imperial Eagle was implemented in the period 2013 - 2018. Thus, in 2013, Elektrorazpredelenie Yug became the first infrastructure company in Bulgaria to implement project with funding under the LIFE programme.
"LIFE Safe Grid for Burgas" is a continuation of the long-standing partnership between Elektrorazpredelenie Yug and BSPB, launched with the project project "Conservation of Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon in key Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria”. More about this completed project can be found on its website at http://www.saveraptors.org.
The LIFE programme is a financial instrument for the environment implemented in accordance with Regulation No. 614/2007 of the European Parliament. Its main objective is to co-finance local projects for the protection of biodiversity and sites of Natura 2000 network. "LIFE Safe Grid for Burgas" is implemented under the “LIFE Nature and Biodiversity” sub-programme. More about life can be read here (link on the project website with info about LIFE).