Brussels, 20 Sep 2005
The European Commission is to provide funding for 89 environmental innovation projects across the EU under its LIFE-Environment programme, which aims to demonstrate new methods for dealing with environmental problems.
The projects are led by 'beneficiaries' in 17 EU countries, and represent a total investment of 220 million euro, of which the EU will provide 71 million euro. The 89 successful initiatives were selected from among 534 proposals received from a wide range of public and private organisations.
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: 'LIFE-Environment supports the development of ever more efficient and innovative technologies to tackle environmental issues. These innovations also contribute to achieving the EU's competitiveness and growth goals.'
In terms of the number of projects selected and EU funding allocated, waste management initiatives lead the way with 31 projects receiving a total of million euro. Next are initiatives aimed at reducing the environmental impact of economic activities, with 17 million euro being allocated to 22 projects, while 14 million euro will be used to fund 17 projects dealing with sustainable management of surface and ground water. The other thematic areas within the programme are sustainable land-use development and planning and reduction of the environmental impacts of products and services.
Examples of the types of initiative being supported include a water management project in Belgium, where best practice management guidelines for the safe use of pesticides will be implemented to protect surface and groundwater from pollution. In Denmark, meanwhile, in an attempt to mitigate the environmental impacts of economic activities, the commercial, safety and ecological benefits of a prototype refrigeration system for supermarkets will be demonstrated. The system uses carbon dioxide as the refrigerant.
In Estonia, another project aimed at minimising the environmental impacts of economic activities will demonstrate how pig manure can be fully processed using a new technology in order to produce energy and secondary raw materials (water and fertiliser). In the UK, meanwhile, a water management initiative will showcase a new processing technology by which formaldehyde, used in the manufacture of glues and wood products among other things, is converted into non-toxic sugars. The target is a 100 per cent reduction in formaldehyde in effluent flowing into the UK's Severn Estuary.
LIFE is the instrument through which the EU funds environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU and beyond. The LIFE-Environment programme, which finances innovative pilot and demonstration projects, is one of three thematic components under the LIFE programme, the other two being LIFE Nature and LIFE Third Countries.
The current LIFE programme (LIFE III) runs until the end of 2006. The Commission has proposed a new programme (LIFE +) to run from 2007 to 2013 with a budget of 2.19 billion euro, and the proposals are currently under discussion in the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.
For further information, please consult the following web address:
http:///europa.eu.int/comm/enviro nment/li fe/life/environment.htm