Green Corridors - Restoration of wildlife corridors under overhead lines in Belgium and France




LIFE Elia-RTE, Elia, RTE, Ecofirst


LIFE Elia-RTE is a project that combines electrical safety of grid lines with biodiversity-friendly vegetation management by creating green corridors under high-voltage overhead lines and by relying on a multi-partner approach. It was run between 2011-2017, together between the Belgian TSO, Elia, French TSO, RTE, and ecological consultancy, Ecofirst.


  • Enhance biodiversity through tangible actions by creating green corridors on 28 sites in Belgium and 7 sites in France
  • Positively influence the perception of vegetation management in connection with high-voltage power lines
  • Create conditions under which tree growth will be much slower in order to avoid recurrent tree cutting
  • Manage the practice in the long term via a win-win multi-partner approach
  • Share the experiences throughout Europe

 Main information:

The LIFE Elia-RTE team aimed to establish a new kind of vegetation management underneath grid lines in Belgium and France. They restored forest edges and natural habitats, dug natural ponds, planted conservatory orchards, sowed meadows and created pasturage facilities for local framers. This approach not only turned out to be more biodiversity-friendly by avoiding the traditional clear-cut solutions under grid lines, but also proved to be 1.4 to 3.9 times cheaper on a 30 years scale than conventional forms of vegetation management.

The practice, which involved many stakeholders including TSOs, authorities, forest owners, NGOs and academics, has some impressive results to show. Through its efforts the LIFE Elia-RTE team managed to restore 20 ha of natural habitats and improve the biodiversity network by creating connecting zones between core areas of conservation. By relying on local partnerships, they also succeeded in improving acceptance for high-voltage grid lines.

Additional information:

  • Life Elia-RTE is a 6.5-year project that ran between 2011 - 2017. It was led by a team of seven people coming from the two NGOs Solon asbl and CARAH. The project is estimated to cost 3 M€ and is co-financed by the European Com-mission (38%), the Walloon region (27%), Elia, the Belgian TSO (22%) and by RTE, the French TSO (13%)
  • Although the project concluded in 2017, the project team has been asked by many different organisations to present their approach and their outcomes. Today, Life Elia-RTE is actively communicating with TSOs from seventeen different EU members states about biodiversity.
  • Final results of the projects from the concluding conferences can be found here (in French).
  • The project was followed up in 2019 with the redaction of a report on biological indicators. It can be found here (in French).

RGI gratefully acknowledges the EU LIFE funding support:

EU LIFE funding support Logo

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the LIFE Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.