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05/12/12: Electricity North West engineers help protect hundreds of swans

Engineers from Electricity North West have been hard at work recently after hundreds of migrating swans unexpectedly set up home in close proximity to overhead electricity lines.

More than 600 Whooper swans, which have migrated from Iceland to a field in Silloth, Cumbria, have been at risk of flying directly into live electricity lines when they take off and land.

As part of Electricity North West’s ongoing flight diverter programme, more than 300 special diverters at a cost of £13,000 have been fixed onto 500 metres of overhead powerlines to help protect the swans and also the power supply to customers.

Dan Garner, area EHV delivery manager (Cumbria) for Electricity North West, said: “It was important that we reacted quickly to the situation in order to help protect the birds, but also ensure that our customers’ power supply is not affected in any way.

“The diverters will deter the swans by spinning in the wind, making the lines easier for the birds to see and avoid – and they also glow in the dark and are highly reflective, which is crucial as dusk and dawn are frequent times of activity for the swans.

“We’re delighted to be able to help protect the Silloth swans and we will continue to work with RSPB to monitor bird flight paths and where necessary, fit bird diverters.”

Tim Melling, casework and species protection officer for RSPB, said: “RSPB welcomes this responsible action by Electricity North West. The installation of these highly visible deflectors will help protect the swans by enabling them to take evasive action to avoid collision with the overhead powerlines.”

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