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REN

Protection Against Rural Fires

REN is one of the companies that contributes the most to the protection and recovery of the native forests in Portugal. As 60% of our easement corridors are in forest areas, the installation and maintenance of power lines integrated in these areas take on special relevance, requiring permanent care.

The accumulation of fuels, the lack of adaptation of the species to the season, climate change and monocultures are factors that increase the risk of fire. Thus, REN develops actions seeking to mitigate these occurrences and to promote the defence of the forest against fires.

 

 60% of REN's infrastructures are located in forest areas

 

 


The materialization of this objective, to which the company has committed in its Sustainability Strategy, includes the maintenance of the easement corridors and the implementation of reforestation and environmental education policies. Through our partners, we convey messages to the landowners, seeking to effect change in mind-sets and risk behaviours, raising their awareness towards the need to clear the lands.

Currently, we contact between 15,000 and 20,000 landowners per year in the context of the Defence Against Forest Fires. If we divide these number by the days in the year, we get a value of 60 to 80 landowners contacted every working day.

With the creation of the Portuguese National Defence System Against Forest Fires (SNDFCI) the Fuel Management Corridor Networks were also created, and REN's infrastructure was integrated into the so-called secondary network. Decree-Law No. 124/2006, of 28 June (republished by DL No. 17/2009, of 14 January) imposes on the entity responsible for the operation of the power transmission lines the responsibility of managing the fuel in the forest areas previously defined in the Municipal Plans for the Defence Against Forest Fires (PMDFCI).

To comply with these legal provisions, we keep clear the areas of our infrastructure known as easement corridors. These corridors have a width of at least 45 metres for power lines and 10 metres for gas pipelines. Inside this area, we carry out the management of fuel, the clearing of scrubland and the felling of the trees required to ensure the safety of our infrastructure's operation. The owners of the corresponding lands are also made aware to not keep plantations that may jeopardize the safety of our infrastructure. By maintaining the corridors clear, we prevent the occurrence of fires and create better access to these areas for all Civil Protection Agents, enabling the fight against fires.

 

 

REN has met all its obligations in the defence of the forest against fires. This is a long-term strategic work, which has been praised by the Supervisory Authorities and by the communities of which we are part. In recent years, our service providers worked around 380 thousand hours/year, representing around 200 people per working day allocated to jobs in the forest.

 

 

From the operational perspective, we achieved important goals and created positive impacts in the local communities:

  • In the last four years, we intervened in over 20,000 hectares (an area corresponding to 20,000 football pitches).

  • Since 2010, we planted over 1 million trees, in an area exceeding 2,000 hectares, replacing fast-growing species by indigenous ones, which are already playing an important role in the defence of the forest against fires.

  • For the execution of this work, we involved over 15 thousand landowners/year, who can now monetize the lands that were until then abandoned, also promoting the increase of local biodiversity.

 

 

The achievement of these goals requires the involvement of multiple stakeholders. In addition to cooperation with the various local communities, we support other agents engaged in the Defence Against Forest Fires. REN is a part of Movimento ECO (ECO Movement), a civil society movement, supported by the Government, with the involvement of several Portuguese companies and which aims to promote the prevention of forest fires and to raise public awareness regarding risk behaviours.