The specific objective of LIFE-Environment was to contribute to the development of innovative techniques and methods by co-financing pilot and demonstration projects.
The LIFE regulation EC 1655/2000 defined five areas eligible for funding:
LIFE-Environment also financed preparatory projects aimed at the development or updating of Community environmental actions, instruments, legislation or policies.
LIFE-Environment did not finance research or investment in existing technologies or infrastructure. The purpose of the programme was to bridge the gap between research and development results and their large-scale application. To this end, demonstration projects based on the results of projects which had been supported under past or ongoing technological research and development programmes were encouraged.
The European Union allocated approximately €300 million for LIFE-Environment for the period 2000-2004 ("LIFE III"). The rate of Community co-financing was up to 30% for projects generating substantial net revenue, and up to 50% in other cases. In September 2004, LIFE III was extended for a further two years (2005-2006), with an additional budget of €137 million to cover LIFE-Environment.
50 LIFE-Environment projects in 14 countries were selected for funding following the last call for proposals under LIFE III. For more information, please read the latest press release on LIFE-Environment.
Examples of LIFE-Environment projects include the planning and construction of a demonstration unit for refining waste oil in Germany, eco-labelling European tourism in the Netherlands, and sludge management of sewage treatment plants, using a process of "humification", in Greece.
For an example of the sort of work LIFE-Environment supported, please see the BBMpassiv project.
Examples of LIFE-Environment Preparatory projects include the design, construction and validation of a prototype installation for a safe deposit of surplus mercury from the European industry, a pilot scheme for an EU environmental technologies verification system incorporating soil remediation, waste water treatment and energy related technologies, and a European consortium for modelling of air pollution and climate strategies.
For another example please see LETS Update project.