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LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 3954 projects, contributing approximately €3.1 billion to the protection of the environment.Read more >>

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LIFE Best Projects 2013: Nature, Environment and Information winners revealed

Best NAT

22 April 2014The Best LIFE projects completed by the end of 2013 will be honoured at two separate award ceremonies taking place in Brussels this spring.

Nature and Information

The first ceremony recognises the achievements of 13 LIFE projects targeting nature conservation and will take place on 29 April 2014. Eleven of the award-winners are LIFE Nature projects; the other two being LIFE Information & Communication projects with a nature conservation focus.

The event, which will feature short presentations by the winning projects, will be held from 17:30 onwards at meeting room 0D of the Centre de Conferences Albert Borschette (CCAB), rue Froissart 36. Brussels. The awards will be made in the presence of the Habitats and Ornis Committees, which are made up of Member State representatives following the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives.      

Environment and Information

The second award ceremony will take place in early June and honours the work of the Best LIFE Environment projects and Best LIFE Information and Communication projects addressing environmental themes completed in 2013.

Six projects have been awarded “Best of the Best” status, five from the LIFE Environment strand and one from LIFE Information & Communication.

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Manchester-based project releases films on recycling

LIFE11 ENV/UK/000389

16 April 2014Awareness-raising about recycling is a key focus of UP&FORWARD COMS (LIFE11 ENV/UK/000389), a LIFE Environment project in Greater Manchester, UK. The community-based project has just released two films on recycling as part of its wider campaign to persuade more residents to recycle their household rubbish. The films, produced by students at the University of Bolton, with the help of production company, Bellyfeel, target ‘hard-to-reach’ communities, i.e. inner-city areas that are traditionally low-performing in terms of recycling.

The first film, “Cheetham Hill Community Tidy Up (part 1 and 2)” targets the private rental market and landlords. It shows residents of the Cheetham Hill area coming together for a one-day community tidy up event. The second film, “Eco Faith” worked with religious groups and faith leaders of Oldham, Greater Manchester – choosing the month of Ramadan in 2013, to focus residents’ minds on looking after their environment through recycling.

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Launch of next LIFE call for projects provisionally set for June

LIFE LOGO

10 April 2014The first call for tender for under the new LIFE programme (2014-2020) for Environment and Climate Action is provisionally set to launch 16 June 2014.

The call, which relates only to the Environment sub-programme of LIFE, will cover ‘Traditional’ projects, Preparatory projects, Integrated projects, Technical Assistance projects and Capacity-Building projects.

It is important to remember that ‘traditional’ projects mean best-practice/demonstration/pilot/information projects (i.e. similar to those currently funded under LIFE+ Nature, Biodiversity, Environment and Information & Communication). The priority topics for ‘traditional’ projects in the Environment sub-programme have been set in the multi-annual work programme for 2014-2017, pages 8-24: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/about/index.htm#mawp

 

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LIFE work programme for 2014-2017 is approved

LIFE LOGO

19 March 2014The LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017 has been adopted by a Commission Decision on 19 March 2014, after having received a positive opinion of the Committee for the LIFE Programme for the Environment and Climate Action on 17 February 2014. The work programme applies from the date of its adoption and enters into force as of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. It will be published in all EU languages with the exception of Irish.

The LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014-2017 sets the framework for the next four years for the management of the new LIFE Programme 2014-2020. It contains an indicative budget, explains the selection methodology for projects and for operating grants and establishes outcome indicators for the two LIFE sub-programmes – for Environment and for Climate Action. The total budget for funding projects during the period covered amounts to €1.1 billion under the sub-programme for Environment and €0.36 billion under the sub-programme for Climate Action.

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LIFE GREENLYSIS project wins water innovation award

Photo: LIFE08 ENV/E/000118

12 March 2014 GREENLYSIS (LIFE08 ENV/E/000118), a Spanish LIFE project led by the water technology centre, CETaqua, in partnership with SUEZ-CIRSEE and SAFT Baterías, has been recognised by the International Water Association (IWA) in its 2014 Project Innovation Awards. The LIFE project has obtained the Honour Award for Europe and West Asia in the Applied Research category. This regional triumph means it will now be entered in the global awards at the IWA World Water Congress in Lisbon (21-26 September 2014).

The main objective of the GREENLYSIS project, which ran from January 2010 until the end of 2012, was to construct a pilot plant to demonstrate the viability of a new technology for separating outflows from wastewater treatment plants into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis.

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Project publishes steppe conservation book

Photo: Thomas Stephan

10 March 2014 The German LIFE project Steppenrasen Thüringens (LIFE07 NAT/D/000213) has produced a hardback book (456 pages) of the papers presented at its final conference in Erfurt, 3-6 June, 2012. The contributions, which are published in English and German, focus on steppe conservation in different regions of Germany and in other European countries.

Copies of Steppenlebensraume Europas – Gefährdung, Erhaltung Maßnahmen und Schutz (Hazard, conservation and protection) are available without charge, although the cost of packaging and postage must be covered.

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LIFE project helps save Egyptian Vultures in Sudan

Photo:Stoyan_Nikolov

24 February 2014 Years of work by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) the Sudanese Wildlife Society (SWS), as well as joint efforts of the LIFE project "Return of the Neophron” (LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152) and the BirdLife UNDP/GEF project Migratory Soaring Birds (MSB) have paid off. The Sudanese Government and the Sudanese Electricity company have agreed to switch off and replace a dangerous power line in the area of Port Sudan that has killed hundreds or even thousands of Egyptian Vultures and other birds over the years.

The Port Sudan area used to be the most important resting and feeding ground in Sudan for the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) during its exhausting autumn migration. The construction of the power line in the 1950s had a negative consequence for the species: large numbers of birds have been electrocuted when coming into contact with it. In 2010, BSPB and SWS began a series of actions to try and solve the problem, one of which is The Return of the Neophron.

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LIFE project breeds and reintroduces freshwater mussels to Spanish lake

Photo:LIFE08 NAT/E/000078

21 February 2014 The Spanish LIFE Nature project, PROYECTO ESTANY (LIFE08 NAT/E/000078), has successfully reintroduced hundreds of freshwater mussels to Banyoles Lake in Girona, Catalonia. This success was built on the project's efforts in developing the most successful captive breeding programme for freshwater mussels of the Unio genus in Europe.

The project recreated the delicate natural breeding cycle of the mussels in a laboratory near Banyoles Lake. They used water and sediment from the lake as well as 900 fish, on which the mussels depend during their parasitic larval stage. In multiple breeding cycles since 2011, the team have produced 130 000 young mussels - 80% U. mancus and 20% U. ravoisieri.

The team nurtured the mussels in the laboratory, thus avoiding the extremely dangerous early days of a mussel's life in its natural environment.

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LIFE highlights how river restoration can help provide natural flood protection

Photo:LIFE09 INF/UK/000032

20 February 2014 A UK-led LIFE project, RESTORE (LIFE09 INF/UK/000032), has published a new report highlighting the importance of river restoration in Europe. Available in five languages (English, French, Dutch, Italian and Finnish), this timely publication emphasises the value of river restoration in terms of increased ecological quality, flood risk reduction and social and economic benefits.

Between 2010 and 2013 the project developed tools - including a website and RiverWiki - to help practitioners across Europe increase their knowledge, skills and opportunities to create networks in the field of river restoration.

The report River Restoration in Europe: The art of the possible brings together knowledge from the LIFE project and the recent European River Restoration Conference to provide policy-makers and river basin managers with a useful document for addressing the key policy and technical challenges ahead.

The new report is designed to raise awareness of the ability of river restoration to mitigate against the effects of climate change on river habitats.

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LIFE project identifies priorities for action for Natura 2000 network in England

Photo:Chris Gibson/Natural England

17 February 2014 The UK LIFE+ project IPENS (LIFE11 NAT/UK/000384) has published a report identifying 11 priorities for action to improve the condition of Natura 2000 sites in England. These priorities are part of a scoping exercise which will now be used to develop a strategic programme for management of the Natura 2000 network in England.

The project team conducted extensive analysis of available data sources and discussions with key stakeholders to identify the 11 priority threats and pressures facing Natura 2000 sites in England. These include habitat fragmentation, aerial nitrogen deposition, diffuse water pollution and coastal squeeze. The project will now develop ‘theme plans’, clarifying the nature of each issue and identifying (new) solutions across Natura 2000 sites.

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LIFE investment helps upward trend for Europe's bats

Photo: LIFE08 NAT/F/000473

12 February 2014 A new report by the European Environment Agency reveals that bat numbers in selected European countries increased by more than 40% between 1993 and 2011, an important correction to significant historic declines. According to EEA Executive Director, Hans Bruyninckx, the findings of the technical report on bats suggest "that targeted conservation policies over the last years have been successful. But many bat species are still endangered, so preserving their habitats is still an important priority."

The LIFE programme has been one key source of targeted spending in support of EU bat conservation objectives. Since 1992, there have been a total of 55 such projects, utilising some €54.8 million of EU funding, and mobilising almost €114 million in total, a significant part of which has been used to help the recovery of endangered bat species.

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LIFE Platform Meeting addresses Alternative Future Urban Mobility challenges

www.eltis.org/Harry Schiffer

07 February 2014 An extensive report on the LIFE+ Environment Platform Meeting on Alternative Future Urban Mobility, which took place in Berlin in November 2013, is now available to download.

The report was written by Thomas Mayer from the LIFE+ External Monitoring Team (Astrale), which was responsible for organising the Platform Meeting in collaboration with host LIFE project, Clean Air (LIFE11 ENV/DE/000495). The aim of this multi-faceted project is to build a network of local and regional authorities and NGOs to support the monitoring and implementation of the Air Quality Directive, including sharing best practice and improving citizen awareness.

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Top 5 LIFEnews stories of 2013

Photo:LIFE07 ENV/IT/000434

27 January 2014 In 2013, LIFEnews, the monthly LIFE newsletter, once again covered a wide range of key themes relating to the LIFE programme and EU environmental and nature conservation policy and practice. Here we count down the five most read articles of the year.

In fifth place is an article from March 2013 previewing the Climate Action sub-programme that has been introduced by the new LIFE Regulation for the period 2014-2020. Mette Quinn and Dominik Mayer from the Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA), spoke about the objectives for the sub-programme and the timeline for its implementation. Preparing for LIFE's new Climate Action sub-programme

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MHyBus project demonstrates advantages of new fuel source for public transport

Photo:LIFE07 ENV/IT/000434

24 January 2014 The results of the first trials of a hydromethane-fuelled bus for urban public transport were presented at the final conference of the LIFE+ Environment project MHyBus (LIFE07 ENV/IT/000434) in Bologna, Italy on 19 December, 2013. The project, which was led by the Region of Emilia-Romagna, carried out tests to optimize the engine for hydromethane, prepared a prototype vehicle, designed and built a dedicated fuelling station and then carried out road tests.

The prototype vehicle travelled more than 45 000 km on public roads around Ravenna without technical problems. The project found that the optimal fuel blend was a mix of 85% methane and 15% hydrogen by volume.

In the opening speech of the conference, Alfredo Peri, the Regional Councillor for Transport in Emilia-Romagna, stressed the importance of initiatives such as MhyBus in taking concrete steps towards a more sustainable mobility and the creation of a regional value chain.

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New publication out! LIFE and Soil protection

LIFE and Soil protection

21 January 2014 With issues such as erosion, soil sealing, carbon capture and contaminated land of growing public concern and policy focus, this brand-new LIFE Focus publication takes a timely look at LIFE and Soil protection.

The 68 page brochure includes an overview of EU soil policy, analysis of LIFE's contribution to its implementation and interviews that link soil science to policy-making to practical action. It also addresses in detail the impact of LIFE actions relating to all the key issues around soil sustainability, including: land take and soil sealing; soil biodiversity; carbon capture; soil monitoring; soil and water protection; sustainable agriculture; and land contamination.

The publication thus provides an opportunity to highlight and assess the LIFE programme's contribution to soil protection to date, including proposals for ways in which project outcomes may be better channelled and have an even greater impact in future.

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Precursor study to new LIFE project reveals why migratory birds fly in V-formation

Photo:LIFE12 BIO/AT/000143

20 January 2014 Three scientists from the NGO Förderverein Waldrappteam, beneficiary of a new LIFE Biodiversity project that aims to reintroduce the critically-endangered northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita) into Europe, are among the authors of a new scientific paper published by the journal Nature that reveals the secrets of why flocks of migratory birds fly in a V-formation.

The nine scientists – led by Steven Portugal - who co-authored the paper, 'Upwash exploitation and downwash avoidance by flap phasing in ibis formation flight', have seen their fascinating conclusions picked up by major media outlets around the world, including The New York Times, National Geographic, BBC and Spiegel, among many others.

The paper outlines the results of a data collection study, during which a group of 14 northern bald ibises underwent a human-led migration from Salzburg in Austria to southern Tuscany, Italy. Using new technology the team monitored the ibises as they flew in a V-formation, recording their position, speed, heading and every single wing flap over a 43-minute period.

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New publication out! Long-term impact and sustainability of LIFE Nature

Long-term impact and sustainability of LIFE Nature

17 January 2014 The latest LIFE Focus publication takes stock of the achievements to date of the LIFE Nature strand of the LIFE programme. Titled Long-term impact and sustainability of LIFE Nature, the 60-page brochure provides a user-friendly snapshot of the detailed assessments contained in the ex-post (after project's end) evaluations of LIFE projects.

This evaluation process involves visits by experts from the LIFE Monitoring Team to a random sampling of completed LIFE Nature projects a number of years after they have finished. Some 9% of all LIFE Nature projects have been evaluated thus far. As well as outlining the history and methodology of the ex-post evaluation process, this new publication draws on the results of that qualitative research, backed up by new interviews with key stakeholders across several EU Member States, to highlight the lessons that can be learned in terms of LIFE Nature's long-term impact and sustainability at both project and programme level.

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LIFE helps bring about allis shad breeding return to the Rhine

Photo: LIFE06 NAT/D/000005

14 January 2014 In 2008, LIFE-Projekt Maifisch (LIFE06 NAT/D/000005) first released allis shad (Alosa alosa) larvae into the Rhine system as part of an effort to bring this once abundant fish species back from extinction in this river system. Now, monitoring confirms that the allis shad has successfully spawned in the Rhine for the first time in more than half a century.

Three juvenile allis shad were detected in a cooling water outtake of a nuclear power plant on the upper Rhine late September 2013. Since the nearest location in which the species was reintroduced was some 100 km downstream, experts believe it is very unlikely that the specimens directly come from fish stocking measures undertaken by LIFE-Projekt Maifisch or the subsequent LIFE+ Nature project, Alosa alosa (LIFE09 NAT/DE/000008).

In mid-November 2013, a professional fisherman caught an adult allis shad near Wörth on the Upper Rhine. Biologists of the Universities of Koblenz-Landau and Düsseldorf confirm that this was a fully-spawned female, providing a further indication that the species has spawned successfully in the Rhine.

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LIFE project brings experts together at International Wolf Congress

Photo:LIFE08 NAT/IT/000325

13 January 2014 The LIFE Nature project WOLFNET (LIFE08 NAT/IT/000325) successfully staged an International Wolf Congress from 6-8 November in Caramanico Terme, in Italy's Majella National Park. The congress was organised as the final event of the LIFE project by the coordinating beneficiary, the Majella National Park, together with project partners Pollino National Park, Foreste Casentinesi National Park, the Zooprophylactic Institute of the Regions of Lazio and Tuscany, the Province of l'Aquila and the Italian environmental NGO, Legambiente.

More than 250 participants from 13 countries attended the high-level congress, which included 35 presentations on wolf conservation.

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Invasive species project recognised for social innovation

Photo:LIFE10 NAT/PT/000075

10 January 2014 A Portuguese LIFE Nature project targeting the recovery of habitats threatened by invasive plant species has received the 2013 António Mota Award (http://premiomam.mota-engil.pt/) in recognition of its commitment to social inclusion. 

The BRIGHT project (LIFE10 NAT/PT/000075) has involved a team of seven convicts from Coimbra Regional Prison, who work alongside the beneficiary’s staff on control and conservation tasks. Demonstrating the value of this collaboration, the first of the prisoners to complete his jail sentence has since become a full-time member of the project team.

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New LIFE Regulation published: programme continues to 2020

LIFE LOGO

09 January 2014The new LIFE Regulation has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union, the official record of EU legislation. The Regulation - which was published on 20 December 2013 - establishes the Environment and Climate Action sub-programmes of the LIFE Programme for the next funding period, 2014–2020. The budget for the period is set at €3.4 billion in current prices.

The LIFE programme will contribute to sustainable development and to the achievement of the objectives and targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the 7th Union Environmental Action Programme and other relevant EU environment and climate strategies and plans.

The ‘Environment’ strand of the new programme covers three priority areas: environment and resource efficiency; nature and biodiversity; and environmental governance and information. The ‘Climate Action’ strand covers climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation; and climate governance and information.

The programme also consists of a new category of projects, jointly funded integrated projects, which will operate on a large territorial scale. These projects will aim to implement environmental and climate policy and to better integrate such policy aims into other policy areas.

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