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LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 4306 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately €3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate. Read more >>

LIFE preparatory projects for the European Solidarity Corps call for proposals

LIFE LOGO

07 December 2016LIFE is publishing a call for proposals to support the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). The present call is to provide funding to support the deployment of the ESC. The scope of supported activities – to last between 2 and 12 months – will be environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems, mainly the Natura 2000 network.

Announced by Commission President Juncker in his State of the Union speech on 14 September 2016, the ESC is conceived to offer people under 30 in Europe the chance to support a non-governmental organisation (NGO), local authority or private company active in addressing challenging situations across the European Union.
As President Juncker noted in his speech, "there are many young, socially-minded people in Europe willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity. […] I want this European Solidarity Corps up and running as soon as possible. And by 2020, to see the first 100,000 young Europeans taking part.”

As a response to this need, LIFE developed the environmental component of ESC. LIFE preparatory projects address specific needs for the development and implementation of Union environmental or climate policy and legislation. The preparatory projects- European Solidarity Corps will thus contribute to strengthening the Union’s capacity to provide volunteering services for young people across the European Union (in a second phase). It focuses mainly on environmental protection, nature conservation and restoration of natural areas and ecosystems and on capacity building on voluntary services among ongoing LIFE projects.

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Report on LIFE's contribution to employment and the green economy

LIFE's contribution to employment and the green economy

20 February 2016 A group of experts within the LIFE external monitoring team (Neemo) has published a report analysing the LIFE programme’s role in creating green jobs and boosting sustainable economic growth across Europe.

The study - LIFE: Contributing to Employment and Economic Growth - explores LIFE project sustainability (i.e. the viability of project outcomes after the end of financing) and replicability (i.e. the degree to which project outcomes are taken up by other entities).

The report first focuses on the statistical and econometric analysis of LIFE projects in terms of sustainability and replicability potential. It then examines the economic impact of selected LIFE projects under different replication scenarios.  The third section highlights the hidden economic potential of LIFE Nature projects thanks to the ecosystem services delivered. The final section presents an overview of recent Green Finance initiatives that can help LIFE project replication.

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Product Environmental Footprint initiative sees value of olives thanks to LIFE project

Photo:(LIFE11 ENV/GR/000942)

17 February 2016 The oLIVE CLIMA (LIFE11  ENV/GR/000942) LIFE project is actively contributing to the pilot phase for the elaboration of Product  Environmental  Footprint Category Rules  (PEFCRs) for olive oil. This process will finish late 2017 and its conclusions will be integrated into the European Commission’s policy proposals regarding circular economy actions that are due to be presented mid-2018.

oLIVE CLIMA is highlighting the climate mitigation potential of olive groves. Specifically, the project is testing the efficacy of a number of measures to increase carbon uptake from the atmosphere and storage of a considerable part of it, first in olive wood and then in the soil.

The project experts contributed to an important decision taken on 18 November 2016 by the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) of the unit dealing with the PEF . The decision recognises credits in the carbon footprint of olive tree products when it can be proven that carbon is stored for more than 100 years in the wood.

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Act now to improve underground railway air quality

IMPROVE LIFE Poster

13 February 2016 The IMPROVE LIFE (LIFE13 ENV/ES/000263) project is looking for feedback from underground commuters. The project is currently running a short online questionnaire about underground railway air quality.

Commuting by underground rail is a daily activity for many Europeans. From an environmental perspective, the subway system is relatively clean way of moving large numbers of passengers. However, underground commuters can routinely be exposed to inhalable particulate matter (PM) levels that are higher than the normal legal limits for outdoor air quality in European cities. In fact, PM levels underground are typically much higher than those above ground.

The IMPROVE LIFE project is developing a benchmark study that it hopes will lead to real improvement in subway air quality. The project is being carried out in Barcelona, where the main pollutant sources will be identified in order to inform the prioritisation of cost-effective and low energy air pollution mitigation strategies.

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Indicative planning for the LIFE call 2017

LIFE LOGO

09 February 2016 The official 2017 call is provisionally scheduled to be published on the 28 April 2017.

An indicative planning for the LIFE call 2017 is also now available. Applicants busy designing a potential new LIFE project now have a rough guide to the expected deadlines.

Once ready, application packages and supporting information will also be made available, similar to previous calls.

New LIFE ASAP project drives awareness of invasive alien species problem

ASAP LOGO

08 February 2016 LIFE ASAP (LIFE15 GIE/IT/001039) is protecting Italy's biodiversity from the treat of invasive alien species (IAS) and actively supporting the implementation of the EU's Invasive Alien Species Regulation, which came into force on 1 January 2015. The LIFE project has begun in a blaze of publicity, with articles in major daily Italian national and regional newspapers and a feature on the evening news of state broadcaster RAI.

Invasive alien species (IAS) represent a threat to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Scientists estimate that the number of invasive alien species in the EU has grown by 76 per cent in the past 30 years. IAS-related problems are estimated to cost EU taxpayers €12 billion a year. Beyond the financial impact, exotic flora and fauna can cause irreparable damage to natural habitats and rare native species.

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Update on the evaluation of LIFE Call 2016

LIFE LOGO

07 February 2016 The evaluation of the 2016 proposals is progressing.

EASME foresees the following indicative dates for the next steps:

  • Letter to the applicants informing them on the results of the evaluation: February and March 2017.
  • Start of the revision phase for the pre-selected proposals: March-May 2017
  • Signature of grant agreements: June-July 2017

 

LIFE project discovers Mascarene petrel breeding site

Photo:LIFE13 BIO/FR/000075

06 February 2017 The LIFE+ Petrels (LIFE13 BIO/FR/000075) project has discovered a new breeding ground for the endangered Mascarene petrel (Pseudobulweria aterrima) in the French island of La Reunion in the Western Indian Ocean.

The project team has been intensively searching for Mascarene petrel sites since 2015, listening to thousands of hours of audio recordings and exploring the most remote and steepest parts of the island. The breeding ground was finally discovered by tracking the returning birds at night with infra-red equipment and abseiling down steep cliffs.

The project is continuing a 15-year initiative to find the breeding grounds of this rare bird species. Endemic to the island, its numbers have suffered from predation by introduced mammals, such as cats and rats. Light pollution, which causes many immature birds to become disoriented in flight, is another threat. The species was presumed extinct.

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LIFE solar technology project leads to new job creation

Photo:EXEGER

01 February 2017 Showing how protecting the environment can be good for businesses and encourage jobs and growth in Europe's economy, Swedish start-up and solar technology company, EXEGER, has announced that it is to recruit skilled staff for a number of recently created green posts.

Supported by the LIFE programme via the Dyemond Solar (LIFE09 ENV/SE/000355) project, EXEGER has demonstrated a new screen-printing method allowing it to produce so-called dye-sensitized solar cells in an eco-friendly and cost-efficient way.

This uptake of new solar technology is a great example of how the LIFE programme incubates ideas and demonstrates new technologies, which with further investment can be scaled-up to marketable solutions with major economic and environmental benefits.

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New guidelines for marketing 'ugly fruit' and reducing food waste

Photo:LIFE14 ENV/PT/817

31 January 2017 The FLAW4LIFE (LIFE14 ENV/PT/817) project has produced new guidance on ‘ugly’ (i.e. less than perfect-looking) fruit and vegetables based on their efforts to reduce food waste in Portugal.

The project’s guidelines on sustainable consumption, published in Portuguese and English, present strategies for tackling waste due to food appearance, at local and regional levels, and for raising awareness about how consuming nutritious but imperfect-looking food can promote local economic growth.

FLAW4LIFE is changing food consumption habits by creating markets for fruit and vegetables regardless of their size, colour and shape. The project is replicating nationally an innovative methodology called Fruta Feia (Ugly Fruit), which involves creating local networks of farmers, consumers and coordinators around financially self-sustainable delivery points.

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LIFEnews N°10/16 - 01/17

LIFEnews10/16-01/17

17 January 2017 This issue of LIFEnews looks at climate change and its impacts on urban areas.

The first article features an interview with policy officers from the Climate Action and Energy directorates-general.

The second article spotlights a range of LIFE projects that have helped to address the effects of climate change in urban environments.

 

 

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LIFE invests in Europe's green innovation & growth

Photo: Youtube video

11 January 2017 The EU LIFE Programme has been investing in eco-innovation since its very start. LIFE projects - carried out by both SMEs and large companies - test and demonstrate new products and technologies.

A new video highlights the multiplier effect of the LIFE Programme's funding on the economy and job creation.

 

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LIFE Nature Integrated Project FRESHABIT reaches cruising speed

Photo: LIFE14 IPE/FI/000023

11 January 2017 Having spent its launch year reviewing sites needing to be restored, the Finnish LIFE Nature Integrated Project (IP) FRESHABIT (LIFE14 IPE/FI/000023) has now kick-started a number of measures aimed at improving the state of inland waters and biodiversity across Finland.

In its start-up phase, the project, which was launched at the beginning of 2016, focused mainly on bird counting, exploratory fishing, surveying underwater nature and cultural heritage, analysing bottom sediment compositions and geology, taking water samples and mapping habitats.

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LIFE REBus gets unused university equipment into the circular economy

Photo: LIFE12 ENV/UK/0006081

09 January 2017 A LIFE project pioneering new approaches to the circular economy has published its latest case study, which demonstrates how universities can contribute to a more sustainable use of materials by selling surplus scientific instruments.

LIFE REBus (LIFE12 ENV/UK/000608) helps businesses to develop resource-efficient business models (REBMs) to reduce raw material consumption, promote reuse and recycling and dramatically cut waste.

LIFE REBus has produced several in-depth case studies on businesses that have benefited from its know-how and strategic vision, the latest of which – UniGreenScheme – focuses on unused scientific equipment in universities.

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Huge Natura 2000 network marine area designated in Sweden thanks to LIFE porpoise project

Photo: LIFE08 NAT/S/000261

05 January 2017 The Swedish government has designated a huge marine Natura 2000 network site for the Baltic Sea harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) based on the results of the LIFE project SAMBAH (LIFE08 NAT/S/000261).

With more than a million hectares, the site is the largest marine area ever proposed by Sweden as a Natura 2000 site. It includes the majority of the species' most important breeding ground, which falls mainly within Sweden's Exclusive Economic Zone.

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Bulgarian lesser kestrel LIFE project wins national conservation award

Photo: LIFE12 NAT/PT/000527

22 December 2016The Lesser Kestrel Recovery (LIFE11 NAT/BG/000360) project, coordinated by Green Balkans, was a 2016 National Winner in Moto-Pfohe’s Donor Programme for Preserving Natural and Cultural Heritage in Bulgaria. The project received the honour at an award ceremony held at the National History Museum in Sofia on 8 December 2016.

 

 

 

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LIFE programme helps bring priolo back from brink of extinction

Photo: LIFE12 NAT/PT/000527

21 December 2016The Azores bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina), which has been the focus of four LIFE projects since 1994, has had its conservation status improved from endangered to vulnerable in the recently updated IUCN Red List. The species, along with the St Helena plover (Charadrius sanctaehelenae) and Seychelles white-eye (Zosterops modestus), is one of several endemic island bird species to be moved to lesser categories of risk.

 

 

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Strategic investment to power global launch of LIFE project's solar technology

Photo: LIFE09 ENV/SE/000355

20 December 2016Solar technology developed during the DYEMOND SOLAR (LIFE09 ENV/SE/000355) project has attracted a key investor - the Finnish clean energy company Fortum. The LIFE project demonstrated a new screen-printing method for the cost-effective manufacture of Dye-Sensitised Cells (DSCs) and the investment will enable the project beneficiary, the Swedish solar technology company Exeger, to upscale the pilot line to achieve full-scale commercial production.

 

 

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LIFEnews N°9/ 2016

LIFEnews 09/2016This issue of LIFEnews focuses on the mid-term evaluation of the LIFE Programme and two events that were recently held in Brussels at EU institutions – the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) – that will shortly report to the European Commission their recommendations for the future development of the programme.

 

 

 

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LIFE tackles marine litter to boost the circular economy

Photo: LIFE15 GIE/IT/000999

19 December 2016In addition to being a direct threat to marine habitats and species, marine litter is also an indicator of a resource-inefficient economy. The most efficient solutions to the environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problems posed by marine litter are to prevent waste generation and to promote the recycling and reuse of waste materials.

A number of LIFE projects address marine litter. They have helped Member States achieve Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD: 2008/56/EC) requirements for Good Environmental Status (GES) for their marine waters by 2020; for which one of the descriptors concerns marine litter.

 

 

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Successful launch event for Hungarian LIFE food waste project

Photo: LIFE15 GIE/HU/001048

16 December 2016A LIFE project in Hungary aiming to deliver a big reduction in the amount of food that goes to waste in the country has launched its activities with a successful opening conference.

LIFE-FOODWASTEPREV (LIFE15 GIE/HU/001048) focuses on changing attitudes to food waste in Hungary, where almost 400 000 tonnes of food waste is generated each year at the domestic household level alone, of which 30% is avoidable waste.

 

 

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The Best LIFE Nature projects 2015

Croatian NCP LOGO

15 December 2016This new publication from the LIFE programme, the EU’s fund for the environment  and climate action, highlights the achievements and value for money of the most outstanding Nature, Biodiversity and Information and Communication projects with a nature focus that were completed before the end of last year.

Six projects received the ultimate accolade (‘Best of the Best’ project), including a LIFE Information and Communication (INF) project in Poland that ran a far-reaching education campaign about biodiversity in the Natura 2000 network. This included a television series viewed by more than 8 million people.

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The Best LIFE Environment projects 2015

Croatian NCP LOGO

15 December 2016This new publication from the LIFE programme, the EU’s fund for the environment and climate action, highlights the achievements and value for money of the most outstanding Environment projects completed before the end of 2015.

The 25 featured projects – which are drawn from nine EU Member States – showcase examples of replicable and marketable solutions to help deliver environmental policy. Many of these demonstrate resource efficient solutions that help us move towards a circular economy, including projects on industrial symbiosis, reducing food and other organic waste, repairing bulky waste, reusing upcycled materials in production processes and establishing markets for secondary raw materials.

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Croatian NCP visits Poland as part of capacity building project

Croatian NCP LOGO

14 December 2016The Croatian National Contact Point (NCP) for the LIFE programme recently visited the Polish NCP for a highly successfully two-day meeting as part of the LIFE project HRNCP-MENP (LIFE 14 CAP/HR/000014).

The project's main objective is to promote Croatia's participation in the LIFE programme, by helping new applicants prepare successful proposals, so as to increase the number of LIFE projects in the fields of environment, nature and biodiversity, and climate change.

On the first day of the visit the Croatian team met with the beneficiaries of two successful Polish LIFE projects: Kampinos Wetland (LIFE12 NAT/PL/000084) which focuses on wetland conservation and Biorewit (LIFE10 ENV/PL/000661) which tackles soil pollution. This encompassed a trip to project sites to observe results and obtain first-hand information on the benefits and challenges encountered during project implementation.

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Fitness check for Birds and Habitats Directives

NATURA 2000 LOGO

13 December 2016The European Commission’s College of Commissioners held an orientation debate on the next steps of the ‘fitness check’ of the Birds and Habitats Directives.

One of the findings of the extensive evaluation the Commission has been carrying out since late 2014 - in which it has been consulting citizens and stakeholders across all EU Member States - was that the directives are vital for Europe's nature conservation policy and as such, their implementation needs to be improved.

The challenges identified primarily relate to the insufficient management and lack of adequate investment in the Natura 2000 network of protected sites, as well as to local deficiencies such as delays, unnecessary burdens for project permits and lack of adequate different assessments in regulating individual species.  

 

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Annual Compilations of 2015 LIFE projects published

Annual compilations 2015

06 December 2016 The Annual Compilations of new LIFE projects are now online. From the 2015 call for proposals, the European Commission is investing over €220 million in 144 green and low-carbon projects in Member States.

The LIFE programme for Environment and Climate Action is co-funding 110 projects under the sub-programme for the Environment. These include 56 projects under the LIFE Environment & Resource Efficiency strand; 39 projects under LIFE Nature & Biodiversity;  and 15 LIFE Environmental Governance & Information projects.

LIFE is co-funding 34 projects under the sub-programme for Climate Action. These include 16 LIFE Climate Change Adaptation projects, 12 LIFE Climate Change Mitigation projects and six LIFE Climate Governance and Information projects.

The four Annual Compilations (Environment, Nature, Information and Climate Action) include one-page descriptions of every single project co-funded by LIFE in the 2015 call. They can be downloaded from the LIFE website.

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Belgian Nature Integrated Project boosts Natura 2000 network

Photo:LIFE14 IPE/BE/000002

29 November 2016At a recent LIFE workshop, A chance for green business – innovation and job creation preserving the environment, held at the Committee of the Regions, Tom Andries made a presentation on the Belgian Nature Integrated Project (BNIP) (LIFE14 IPE/BE/000002). Prior to the workshop, Mr Andries spoke to the LIFE communication team about the progress being made by the BNIP.

The BNIP, one of the first LIFE Nature Integrated Projects (IP), is aiming to boost the implementation of Natura 2000 network in the country. "We're trying to do this by enhancing and increasing the capacity, knowledge and experience of certain stakeholders but also of our administrations - in this case the Flemish and Walloon agencies for nature and forests, and the federal authority for the North Sea," says Tom Andries the coordinator of BNIP.

The North Sea, Wallonia and Flanders have different Prioritised Action Frameworks (PAFs) for the Natura 2000 network and BNIP plans to "almost completely" implement the goals of these PAFs, including the one for the marine environment. The situation, however, is complicated as Belgium incorporates three different biogeographical regions - the Atlantic, marine Atlantic and the Continental regions - and these do not align with its different federal regions. The challenge is therefore to improve cooperation on Natura 2000 network site management across the different regions by, for example, sharing experience of how best to monitor species and habitats.

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Polish 'bio-sensing' project wins development award

Bio-sensing project award

25 November 2016The LIFE project ForBioSensing PL (LIFE13 ENV/PL/000048) recently won the Polish Award of Intelligent Development 2016 in the Scientific Units category. The award was presented at a ceremony on 21 October 2016 in Rzeszow, Poland, during the Intelligent Development Forum, a prestigious nationwide event aimed at promoting and supporting European cooperation.

Using remote sensing techniques, the project is monitoring stand dynamics in Białowieża Forest, the last natural forest in central Europe. It is employing different time series and moving from point-scale monitoring (field measurements on sample plots) to monitoring on a large scale. Better data will allow national park and forest district managers to carry out more efficient protection measures for the forest ecosystems, while also advancing knowledge of the forest's biodiversity.

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LIFEnews N°8/ 2016

LIFEnews 08/2016 23 November 2016This issue of LIFEnews looks at invasive alien species (IAS). The first article focuses on a list, recently adopted by the European Commission, of IAS which require EU-wide action.

Invasive alien species (IAS) present a great threat to Europe's native species and habitats, and can have major economic consequences as well as harmful effects on human health.

The second article showcases a number of LIFE projects which have already taken action to address the problem of invasive alien species.

 

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LIFE project film shortlisted for Sondrio film festival

Photo:LIFE10 NAT/IT/000241

14 November 2016An eye-catching documentary by Marco Tessaro featuring wildlife under threat and about the work of the Trans Insubria Bionet (TIB) (LIFE10 NAT/IT/000241) project has been shortlisted for the Sondrio film festival.

The international film festival is dedicated to documentaries made in nature parks and protected areas worldwide and takes place every November in Sondrio, Italy. The powerful half-hour documentary, entitled Vive solo chi si muove, which translates as only those who move survive, depicts how the TIB LIFE project helped to preserve and restore one of the most interesting habitats in the Italian Alpine foothills. The video, which has also been shortlisted for many other festivals worldwide, was shown in Sandrio on 9 November 2016.

The aim of the Trans Insubria Bionet project was to mitigate the major environmental problem of declining biodiversity by restoring environmental connectivity and increasing the functionality of the natural ecological corridor between Campo dei Fiori and the Ticino River Parks, an area covering some 15 000 ha and including 14 Natura 2000 network sites. This corridor was identified as the most suitable passageway to preserve a functional link between the Alps and the Appennines through the Po river plain, which is fragmented by infrastructure barriers such as roads. 

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Slovakian LIFE project's exhibition demonstrates bird-friendly power lines

Photo:LIFE13 NAT/SK/001272

09 November 2016The LIFE ENERGY project (LIFE13 NAT/SK/001272) has created a unique exhibition that gives visitors the opportunity to sit down safely on power lines. Entitled, “I´m sitting on a line and I´m fine,” it is part of a demonstration of how the project is making electricity infrastructure safer for birds.

The exhibition was opened during a ceremony at the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic in Bratislava on World Animal Day (4 October 2016), at which László Sólymos, Slovak Minister of Environment, seized the opportunity to be one of the first to sit on the power lines. The famous singer and actress Dorota Nvotová, who is the public face of the LIFE project , also talked at the opening of the exhibition, a video of which can be seen on LIFE Energy’s YouTube channel.

Each year, thousands of birds die after colliding with power lines in Slovakia. This has been a factor contributing to declining bird populations. The LIFE ENERGY project is reducing such kinds of bird deaths in Natura 2000 network sites in Slovakia.

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LIFE supports major new London food waste campaign

Photo: LIFE15 GIE/UK/000867

08 November 2016LIFE TRiFOCAL London (LIFE15 GIE/UK/000867) is an exciting newinitiative to prevent food waste and promote best practices for recycling unavoidable food waste has been launched in the UK.

The initiative, TRiFOCAL London – Transforming City FOod hAbits for Life – is being run by Resource London, a partnership between WRAP and the London Waste and Recycling Board, which has received €3.2 million from the LIFE programme for the campaign.

London households throw away an estimated 900 000 tonnes of food each year, 540 000 tonnes of which could have been eaten. Such waste has a negative impact on the environment and is costly for consumers, local authorities and businesses. The campaign organisers estimate that TRiFOCAL London could save Londoners £330 million pounds.

The initiative aims to change how consumers plan and shop for food as well as how they store and prepare meals. It will also address unavoidable food waste, which amounts to an estimated 360 000 tonnes annually, and how this waste can be recycled.

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Burren Programme builds on Irish LIFE project's farming for conservation legacy

Photo: LIFE04 NAT/IE/000125

07 November 2016On 7 October 2016, Martin Creed, the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, announced the opening of a new round of Burren Programme funding for farmers who undertake conservation work on their land. The Burren Programme is a pioneering approach to farming and conservation, whose foundations were laid during the BurrenLIFE project (LIFE04 NAT/IE/000125).

The Burren is a part of western Ireland known for its unique landscapes, species and archaeological sites, including limestone habitats of Community importance. The health of these is closely linked to the activities of the farmers who manage the land. BurrenLIFE demonstrated tailor-made management plans for 20 farms representative of the agricultural diversity of the Burren. This provided a new model for the sustainable agricultural management of Annex I priority habitats. Actions implemented by farmers included clearing shrub encroaching on grassland, restricting grazing at key times of the year, restoring internal stone walls, and improving water supply by installing pumps and tanks.

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European lesser kestrel expert meeting held in Bulgaria

Photo: LIFE11 NAT/BG/000360

04 November 2016The Lesser Kestrel Recovery (LIFE11 NAT/BG/000360) LIFE project recently hosted one of the largest lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) expert meeting ever held. More than 50 experts from across Europe gathered in Plovdiv (Bulgaria) from the  4-8 October 2016. The meeting  addressed the threats posed to the endangered lesser kestrel, whose breeding population in Bulgaria has been declining.

Representatives from 28 different organisations – NGOs, administrative organisations and scientific institutions – provide insight into the different conservation measures for the species that have been carried out across Europe. Experts from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, France Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine were featured. The current state of the population in parts of Turkey was also outlined.

The LIFE project, which is being implemented by Green Balkans, a Bulgarian environmental NGO, is carrying out captive breeding and the translocation of young non-fledged birds from Spain. It is also identifying national agricultural payments and construction practices that are in line with lesser kestrel conservation and promoting them among local stakeholders and land users.

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Commission invests over €220 million in green and low-carbon projects in Member States

LIFE LOGO

03 November 2016The Commission has approved an investment package of €222.7 million from the EU budget to support Europe's transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future. The EU funding will spur additional investments leading to a total of €398.6 million to be invested into 144 new projects in 23 Member States. The support comes from the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action. The projects illustrate the Commission's ongoing commitment to its flagship circular economy package. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: "LIFE-funded projects use relatively little funding and with simple ideas to create profitable green businesses that deliver on the transition to a low-carbon and circular economy." Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said: "With the Paris Agreement entering into force, we must now focus on delivering on our promises. These projects will create the right conditions to promote innovative solutions and spread best practices in reducing emission and adapting to climate change across the EU." A press release and memo detailing the full list of projects are available online.

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Polish integrated project tackles poor air quality in Małopolska

Photo:LIFE14 IPE/PL/000021

02 November 2016 At a recent LIFE workshop on green business, innovation and job creation, held at the Committee of the Regions (CoR) in Brussles, Tomasz Pietrusiak gave a presentation about the Małopolska Region (LIFE14 IPE/PL/000021), a Polish integrated project. Prior to the workshop, Mr Pietrusiak, from the Małopolska local government, also briefed the LIFE communications team. Below follows a brief update about the progress being made by this LIFE project.

Together with Silesia and nearby regions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Polish province of Małopolska is one of Europe's hotspots for air pollution. The main cause of the low air quality is the combustion of solid fuels in old household boilers. The Małopolska Air Quality Plan, however, aims to eliminate these boilers from 155 000 homes while improving insulation in buildings to lower emissions.

The stakes are high: around 10 million people are living in this poor air hotspot. But as Tomasz Pietrusiak emphasises, launching a long-running integrated project (IP) offers the opportunity for greater cooperation among the different administrative regions to address the problem.

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LIFE Saimaa Seal project wins photo competition

Photo: LIFE12 NAT/FI/000367

31 October 2016 The LIFE Saimaa Seal project (LIFE12 NAT/FI/000367) was announced this month as one of three winners of the Europe in my Region 2016 photo competition with a photo by Saara Olkkonen from Finland.

The photo competition aims to highlight the excellent work that projects across Europe are doing with the help of EU funding, and explore what these projects mean to local communities. The jury of the Europe in my Region 2016 photo competition chose Ms Olkkonen’s photo based on the following criteria: aesthetic quality, creativity and relevance to the competition theme. In total participants submitted 837 photos.

The LIFE Saimaa Seal project aims to safeguard the critically endangered ringed seals subspecies, the Saimaa ringed seal (Phoca hispida saimensis). Once widespread across Finland, there are now only 300 Saimaa ringed seals left. All of them are found in the Saimaa freshwater lake. In the latest Art 17 report the overall conservation status assessment is ‘unfavourable-bad’ due to the low population numbers and future prospects of this species whose land-locked characteristics isolate the species which is only present in Finland.

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European Commission praises collaborative Flemish nature project

Photo: Carine van Gerven

28 October 2016 An innovative and highly successful nature protection partnership launched in Flanders ten years ago has been identified by the European Commission as a model to be followed across the EU.

Bosland is an example of a participatory process that has delivered on the ground, not just in terms of preserving nature for nature’s sake but also for people” said Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director for Natural Capital at DG Environment of the European Commission.

“It is a governance model that paves the way for what we want to promote at EU level,” he added.

Speaking at the Bosland 10th anniversary conference which took place in Lommel, Belgium on 13 October 2016, Mr Delgado Rosa paid tribute to the “unique” partnership that has helped restore forests, habitats and biodiversity while also boosting tourism, jobs and social inclusion in the north-eastern part of Flanders.

He noted that while the EU is not yet on track on halting biodiversity loss, the Bosland partnership has achieved what is needed across the EU in terms of integrating biodiversity objectives in sectoral policies and of a stronger involvement of local and regional actors.

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Ground-breaking fishing agreement signed thanks to LIFE project

Photo: LIFE11 NAT/IT/00188

25 October 2016 The LIFE project Conflupo (LIFE11 NAT/IT/00188) has helped broker a ground-breaking agreement for the conservation of the fish stocks in the Po River.

The Po river in Italy is home to 11 European priority fish species and more than 40 native fish species. Over past decades, however, direct and indirect anthropogenic impacts have contributed to the impoverishment of the fishing community. It was therefore essential and urgent that the regions involved in the Po river management agreed on a way to remedy this situation.

To this end, the Conflupo project, in cooperation with the LIFE Barbie project (LIFE13 NAT/IT/001129) promoted the development of a common agreement between Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto. Further to an initial meeting between all stakeholders in September 2015, an agreement was signed in February 2016 by all four regions, "for a sustainable and joint management of the fishing activities and the conservation of the fish stocks in the Po River."

A first in northern Italy, the agreement was transposed into regional law by Lombardy on 30 September 2016.

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LIFE project makes first industrial conveyor belt from recycled plastic

Photo: LIFE13 ENV/IT/000477

24 October 2016 The LIFE REPLACE BELT (LIFE13 ENV/IT/000477) project, which built on the work of the RePlaCe (LIFE 08 ENV/IT/000393) project, has succeeded in turning its prototype industrial conveyor belt, whose structural components are made from recycled plastic instead of metal, into a commercial product.

This positive outcome arises from a collaboration, during both LIFE projects, between four Italian plastics companies: Plastic Metal produced recycled plastic components in its thermoplastic injection moulding machines; F.lli Virginio designed and assembled the conveyor belt, Vivi conducted the laboratory analysis of materials, and Etra manages a plastic waste separation centre.

The new modular conveyor belt uses recycled plastic components to replace structural components formerly made of aluminium and iron. It also replaces components previously made from PVC, synthetic rubber or virgin plastic with recycled plastic.

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