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Engaging citizens in Bulgaria to crack wildlife crime

Photo:LIFE12 NAT/BG/001218

30 May 2016Criminals who target Bulgaria's wildlife are themselves the target of an information campaign urging citizens to report offenders in order to protect and enhance the country's rich biodiversity.

Despite legislation and agreements at EU and international level aimed at countering wildlife crimes, illegal activity such as the capture of wild animals, the raiding of birds' nests, the trade and trafficking of rare species, outlawed hunting methods and poaching represent a lucrative opportunity for criminals.

A LIFE project in Bulgaria, Eagles Forests (LIFE12 NAT/BG/001218), has launched its third annual information campaign to inform and educate citizens about the problem of wildlife crimes in Bulgaria, and to encourage them to play their part in preventing and reporting offences.

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Eurasian lynx to be reintroduced to German forest

Photo:LIFE13 NAT/DE/000755

26 May 2016Three orphaned Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) are scheduled to be released this summer in the biosphere reserve in the Palatinate region of southwest Germany. A further five lynx that were tagged in Switzerland will also be relocated to the Palatinate Forest.

The reintroductions are part of the LIFE project LIFE Luchs Pfälzerwald (LIFE13 NAT/DE/000755), which is being implemented by the Rhineland-Palatinate Conservation Foundation (Stiftung Natur und Umwelt Rheinland-Pfalz).

The project aims to establish a population of 20 lynx in the area through such reintroductions – 10 from Switzerland and 10 from Slovakia. The Eurasian lynx disappeared from the Rhineland-Palatinate area in the 18th century, and the nearest population to the project area is found in the southern Vosges. Individuals from this population have occasionally been recorded in Palatinate, but they have not established a separate population.

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Launch of Italian platform for environmental best practice

Photo: LIFE12 ENV/ES/000761

26 May 2016The Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea will launch its environmental best practice sharing tool - or knowledge platform - in Rome on 14 June 2016. The online tool was developed with the help of EU funding for environmental protection and climate action.

The objective of the Knowledge Platform is to promote the replication of best practice in the fields of nature and biodiversity, water, urban environment, climate change, soil management, resource efficiency, waste and energy. The overall aim is to improve the effectiveness and impact of public funding.

The knowledge platform consists of a database of projects co-financed in Italy by EU programmes such as LIFE, CIP Eco Innovation, CIP IEE and FP7. The site has been designed to stimulate networking among those who have developed the best practices and potential replicators of these actions.

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New film festival award nomination for DISCOVERED LIFE documentary

Photo: LIFE12 ENV/ES/000761

25 May 2016The film Discovering Lindane made by the Spanish DISCOVERED LIFE project (LIFE12 ENV/ES/000761) continues to receive acclaim on the documentary film festival circuit. Following an award at the XVIII Félix de Azara Awards 2015, held in the Spanish province of Huesca, the film has now been nominated for a prize at the 2016 Environmental Film Festival Albania (EFFA 16).

The 33-minute film shows the consequences of the uncontrolled dumping of toxic waste arising from the production of the pesticide Lindane, between 1974 and 1992, in the Spanish region of Aragón. The active ingredients of this pesticide are highly persistent in the environment, and present health risks due to their endocrine disruption activity. The film goes on to show how the DISCOVERED LIFE project is tackling the pollution, through the operation of a prototype system that uses an in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) process to restore water quality in aquifers contaminated by Lindane.

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LIFE AQUASEF reduces aquaculture energy costs by up to 30%

Photo: LIFE13 ENV/ES/000420

24 May 2016LIFE AQUASEF (LIFE13 ENV/ES/000420) has reached a project milestone with the design of an alternative oxygenation system for the aquaculture sector that can reduce energy costs by up to 30%.

The LIFE AQUASEF project, under coordinating beneficiary Ariema, is demonstrating and promoting the use of innovative low-carbon emission technologies to increase environmental sustainability throughout the production cycles of fish and salt-water molluscs. The technology is being demonstrated in tanks at the aquaculture facilities of project partner Esteros de Canela (Huelva, Spain).

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Innovative remote monitoring of former LIFE project sites

Photo:LIFE08 NAT/A/000613

23 May 2016The research project, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Multi Sensor System (RPAMSS), is aiming to gather multi-dimensional environmental data in order to monitor the development of stretches of the river Gail in Carinthia, Austria, which had been the target of a recent LIFE project.
The research initiative builds on the work of the LIFE+ Gail project (LIFE08 NAT/A/000613), which carried out restoration of the sites to protect valuable riverine flora and fauna while improving flood protection.

The LIFE project helped restore the natural morphology and condition of the river by remodelling the river beds and by constructing groynes and still water bodies.
The research project is monitoring the outcomes of the LIFE project restoration actions in the river Gail, as well as the river Drava, using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) guided by real-time kinematic (RTK) satellite navigation – a technique used to enhance the precision of position data derived from satellite-based positioning systems.

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Tagging first raises hopes for endangered bearded vultures in France

LIFE GYPCONNECT logo

20 May 2016The attachment of an electronic tag on a bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) nestling in southern France is being hailed as a breakthrough in efforts to reintroduce the species in the area and promote breeding between vulture populations in the Pyrenees and the Alps.

Experts from the LIFE GYPCONNECT project (LIFE14 FR/NAT/000050) successfully tagged the bird – named ‘Roc Genèse’ after a climbing club that has been involved in the project – while its parents were away from the nest. It marks the first time that a wild bearded vulture nestling was tagged in its nest in Aude.

The nest is the easternmost of the known nests in the Pyrenees, and thus the nearest to the Massif Central, which is the focus of LIFE GYPCONNECT’s efforts to create a new core population of vultures.

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European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) award-winners announced

European Week for Waste Reduction

19 May 2016The European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) awards ceremony was held in Brussels on 11 May 2016 to honour the most outstanding awareness-raising actions implemented during the EWWR 2015.

Six actions were awarded in the following categories: administration/public authority, association/NGO; business/industry; educational establishment; citizens; and others.
For a full list and short descriptions of the winners, see the press release.

The awareness-raising initiative, EWWR, is currently being run by ACR+ under the LIFE project EWWR+ (LIFE12 INF/BE/000459). The project aims to promote the ‘3Rs’ of waste reduction: reduce, re-use and recycle. As well as the EWWR, the project is also developing best practice guidelines and toolkits to address key target audiences in seven languages.

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LIFE launches 2016 call for action grants: more than €330 million available

LIFE 2016 Call

19 May 2016The LIFE programme launched two calls for proposals, underlining its commitment to supporting projects that protect the environment and tackle the impact of climate change.

The 2016 call for action grants for the LIFE programme was launched on 19 May 2016 and covers proposals for both environment and climate action sub-programmes. The total budget for project action grants for this call is €337 536 184. Of this amount, €273 936 184 has been allocated to the sub-programme for environment and €63 600 000 has been allocated to the sub-programme for climate action. At least 55% of the environment allocation will be dedicated to projects supporting the conservation of nature and biodiversity.

For the sub-programme for Environment, this call will cover action grants for "Traditional" projects, Preparatory projects, Integrated projects, Technical Assistance projects.

For the sub-programme for Climate Action, this call will cover action grants for "Traditional projects", Integrated projects, Technical Assistance projects.

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LIFE project to build 'ecoduct' for wildlife around Brussels

Photo: LIFE12 NAT/BE/000166

18 May 2016The Life - OZON project (LIFE12 NAT/BE/000166) has begun work on the first wildlife crossing over the Brussels ring road. The road, one of the busiest in Belgium, runs right through the Sonian Forest (Forêt des Soignes/Zoniënwoud), a 4 421-ha area that is primarily within the administrative region of Vlaams Brabant (in Flanders), as well as covering parts of south-east Brussels and Brabant Wallon (in Wallonia).

Life - OZON aims to reconnect areas of the Sonian Forest with high ecological value by constructing wildlife crossings (such as underpasses, viaducts and culverts) and erecting fences to impede the access of wild animals to roads and rail lines. It also aims to protect forest biodiversity through nature-friendly and adapted forest management and by redirecting recreation activities to less sensitive areas.

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LIFE team discovers rare Italian hare on Tuscan island

Photo:LIFE13 NAT/IT/00047

17 May 2016A LIFE project team has made an unexpected discovery on the island of Pianosa in Tuscany. The European hare of Italy (Lepus europaeus meridiei), a subspecies of brown hare, is completely extinct from the Italian mainland, but the hare population found on the island has been genetically determined to be that of the rare subspecies. The island hare population still has all genes intact from the original European hare of Italy.
The LIFE project beneficiary, the Tuscan Archipelago National Park and the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), is restoring the native fauna of the Tuscan islands as part of the RESTO CON LIFE project (LIFE13 NAT/IT/00047). Its researchers captured and examined the hares during the winter 2015/16, with the voluntary help of expert hare catchers from several national hunting management units of the regions of Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Abruzzo.

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Commissioner Vella highlights Maltese marine conservation project

Photo:LIFE11 NAT/MT/001070

13 May 2016The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella was the guest of honour at the closing conference of Project MIGRATE (LIFE11 NAT/MT/001070) on 29 April 2016 in Malta. The four-year project gathered data on the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) through a combination of modelling of available oceanographic data and boat-based observations.

“The Bottlenose dolphin and loggerhead turtle are iconic species, not just for Maltese waters, but for the Mediterranean as a whole,” said Commissioner Vella in his keynote address.

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LIFE Urbannecy project on urban transport pollution raises awareness in France

Photo:LIFE12 ENV/FR/001125

04 May 2016 Awareness of urban transport pollution was boosted earlier this month when France's regional newspaper, Le Dauphiné Libéré, highlighted the success of the LIFE project Urbannecy (LIFE12 ENV/FR/001125) in reducing gas emissions in Annecy.

The article coincided with a visit by the Head of the LIFE Environment Unit at DG Environment, Hervé Martin, who came to Annecy on 6 April 2016 to see first-hand how the project is achieving its goal.

The objective of the LIFE+ Urbannecy project is to improve the urban environment via a logistics platform using ecological vehicles. Due to the need for daily goods deliveries, transport has become a serious headache for the medium-sized city whose old town has very narrow streets, parts of them exclusively pedestrian.

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Italian national thematic meeting on environment and health

Photo:LIFE13 ENV/IT/000225

03 May 2016The LIFE GIOCONDA (LIFE13 ENV/IT/000225) project organised a LIFE national thematic meeting in Florence, Italy, on 13 April 2016, to discuss governance issues relating to the environment and human health. The meeting was organised with the collaboration of the Office for Participation Policies of the Tuscany Region, and support from the Italian LIFE monitoring team (NEEMO).

‘Participation, risk perception, knowledge transfer and exchange in environment and health’ was the title of the event, which brought together eight LIFE projects. The participants shared their experience and knowledge and discussed the best communication channels and tools to improve citizens’ and professional stakeholders’ perceptions of the risks posed by different environmental pressures on human health. The goal was to enhance both the process of evidence-based decision-making and policy uptake of the outcomes of EU-funded public health research.

The objective of the GIOCONDA project, under the coordination of the Institute of Clinical Physiology of the Italian National Research Council, is to provide local authorities with an innovative methodology that supports the implementation of environmental and health policies, by involving young people in the decision-making process. To this end, data on air and noise pollution is combined with information obtained from an online platform, on which teenagers record their perceptions of health risks. This tool is currently being tested in schools in four Italian areas, and should be made available for use throughout Italy later this year.

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Greek olive crop and climate change project gets national attention

Photo:LIFE 11 ENV/GR/942

26 April 2016Experts leading a LIFE project in Greece focusing on improved management of the country's renowned olive crop have caught the attention of officials at the Ministry of Agriculture looking to develop new environmentally-friendly practices in Greek farming.

A delegation from the oLIVE-CLIMA project (LIFE 11 ENV/GR/942), a five-year initiative that began in October 2012, recently met with Markos Mpolaris, Alternate Minister of Rural Development and Food in Greece. The meeting examined the project's contribution to improving the quality and sustainable management of the olive crop and coincided with the ministry's interest in seeking fresh ideas for environmentally-friendly agriculture, as part of the Greek national programme for rural development running up to 2020.

The oLIVE-CLIMA project, part-funded by the EU's LIFE programme, is developing and applying new olive crop management practices focused on climate change adaptation and mitigation. The project seeks to enhance the long-term storage of carbon dioxide in the soil by increasing the rate of organic matter build-up and to improve soil fertility, reducing the need for artificial fertilisers.

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LIFE Best Awards at Green Week

LIFE Best awards

19 April 2016The annual LIFE Best Awards will once again take place at EU Green Week in Brussels. The awards recognise the most outstanding LIFE projects completed in the previous calendar year. This edition sees a number of innovations. For the first time, the ‘Best of the Best’ LIFE projects – those adjudged to be just that little bit more outstanding than the rest – will be announced live at the awards.

There will be separate awards ceremonies for LIFE Nature and LIFE Environment. Both of these will take place at The Egg conference centre, 175 Rue Bara/Barastraat, Brussels on Tuesday, 31 May 2016.  

The LIFE Nature Best Awards will take place from 14:00-16:00. The LIFE Environment Best Awards will take place from 17:00-19:00. Each award ceremony will be followed by a networking cocktail.

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LIFE Nature Platform Meeting on wildlife poisoning

Photo: LIFE08 NAT/E/000062

18 April 2016Intentional poisoning poses a direct threat to conservation efforts across Europe, but a LIFE Nature Platform Meeting is being organised to assess LIFE's contribution to reducing the risk of poisoning and to address ways in which human-wildlife conflict can be best resolved.

The meeting, which will be hosted by WWF Greece in Athens on 19-20 May, is expected to broaden the scope of expert networks and to determine future coordinated actions. It will focus on exchanging capacity building and best practice in the areas of awareness raising, prevention, case definition, evidence collection and legal enforcement among LIFE beneficiaries, competent authorities and stakeholders.

The meeting is being held in the context of the European Union policy framework on the illegal killing of wildlife.  Results and recommendations will be made available on the Natura 2000 Communication Platform. The working language of the meeting will be English.

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Vote now for your favourite Natura 2000 project

Natura 2000 Awards

15 April 2016The 2016 edition of the Natura 2000 Awards is underway. Join those showing their appreciation for Natura 2000 and vote now for your favourite of the 24 finalists, several of which are LIFE projects.

On the 23 May 2016, Commissioner Vella will announce the winners of the 2016 Natura 2000 Awards at a special ceremony in Brussels. Alongside the winners in each of the award categories - which are chosen by a jury - the project receiving the most votes from the public will win the coveted European Citizens' Award.

Voting for the citizens' award, which closes at midnight on 8 May 2016 couldn't be easier – it is done via a dedicated website.

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New communication tools for all LIFE projects

LIFE LOGO

14 April 2016The LIFE Communications Team has updated and relaunched the Communication Tools pages of the LIFE website.

These pages are designed to give LIFE project beneficiaries and partners practical advice and guidance about the communications aspects of their projects.

The Communication Tools section now includes a guide to the communication requirements for LIFE projects; a set of resources, including downloadable logos and presentations, recommended reading and advice on all types of obligatory and recommended communication actions; and examples of good communication from recent LIFE projects.

The toolkit includes practical information to help projects produce effective websites, layman’s reports, after-LIFE Plans and on-site noticeboards, and to achieve the desired impact from community and expert events, media relations, social media and engagement with policymakers at regional, national and EU level.

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Call for Natura 2000 ecosystem restoration evidence

NAT2000 LOGO

07 April 2016The European Commission has initiated a survey to gather evidence on how the Natura 2000 network contributes to ecosystem restoration. Those involved in ecosystem restoration actions or with information about restoration work within Natura 2000 sites are requested to participate in the survey, including experts working within the framework of LIFE projects. Responses should be completed by 15 April 2016.

This questionnaire is a part of a wider data-gathering effort for the study ‘Technical support in relation to the promotion of restoration in the context of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020’, which is reporting to the Commission. The aim is to develop a better understanding of what is happening in relation to ecosystem restoration activities across the EU, in different Member States, for different sectors, and for different types of habitat.

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Vote for your favourite LIFE Environment project!

Photo:LIFE12 ENV/FR/001125

06 April 2016 Since 2005, the Best LIFE Environment projects have been recognised at an annual award ceremony. For the second year running, you have the chance to choose your favourite project. The one with the most votes will be presented with the LIFE Citizens' Award for environment at EU Green Week in Brussels on 31 May 2016.

You are being asked to vote for your favourite environmental project from the winners of the Best LIFE Projects 2015. A total of 25 projects have been shortlisted – 24 Best LIFE Environment projects, plus one LIFE Information & Communication project with an environmental theme. These have been meticulously selected by environmental experts according to rigorous criteria.

The objective of the LIFE Environment Best Project Awards is to help identify and raise awareness of those projects whose results, if widely applied, could have the most positive impact on the environment and green growth. Projects not only need to be technically sound, public support is also a vital component of the LIFE story. And it often makes a big difference to the success of a project. That's why we want to hear from you. The countdown to the LIFE Citizens' Award for environment has begun…

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European Commission visits LIFE project on urban congestion

Photo:LIFE12 ENV/FR/001125

04 April 2016The LIFE project Urbannecy (LIFE12 ENV/FR/001125) in Annecy, France is delivering technical know-how on how to reduce urban transport pollution in cities.

While the last decade has seen European cities take major steps to tackle traffic congestion and related pollution, little attention has been paid to the goods distribution process, which is one of the major sources of traffic congestion and air and noise pollution in urban areas.

The results of the Urbannecy project are expected to be highly policy relevant. The Head of the LIFE Environment Unit at DG Environment, Hervé Martin, is to visit the French project on 6 April 2016 to see first-hand how gas emissions are being reduced in the city.

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CLEAN ROADS seeks feedback on road weather information system

Photo:LIFE12 NAT/GR/000275

31 March 2016 The CLEAN-ROADS (LIFE11 ENV/IT/000002) project is gathering information from motorists about the new Road Weather Information System (RWIS) it has been testing during the winter, near the city of Trento in northern Italy. The system aims to maintain roads in a more efficient and sustainable manner. The short Italian-language survey can be accessed here.

De-icing chemicals, in particular salt, are typically used for road maintenance in winter, but they have a negative impact on soil, vegetation and water, as well as on roads and vehicles. The CLEAN-ROADS project wants to optimise salt-spreading operations, to reduce salt usage and the environmental impacts of road maintenance. The approach taken gives drivers a better understanding of conditions and allows them take more responsibility as they travel.

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Working in partnership to rejuvenate Lake Stymfalia

Photo:LIFE12 NAT/GR/000275

30 March 2016 Project staff, experts and stakeholders working together to restore Lake Stymfalia, an inland wetland in southern Greece home to numerous species of resident and migratory birds, are hailing improvements to the lake's health and biodiversity. The upturn is due to the LIFE-Stymfalia project (LIFE12 NAT/GR/000275), a four-year initiative that is part-funded by €1 million from the European Union's LIFE programme and which has now reached its halfway point.

Cutting twelve acres of dense reed beds has helped to return part of the lake to its natural state, and the harvested reeds are being used as a raw material for an innovative pellet manufacturing facility to create renewable fuel.

Engaging the local community in the rejuvenation of the wetland has been at the heart of project activities so far. More than three hundred farmers and local residents have signed an agreement pledging support for the project's goals, in particular the development of more sustainable water management and agricultural practices.

As well as seminars with local stakeholders to promote environmental awareness, project staff have led educational activities for schools in the area and have promoted rural entrepreneurship as a way of using the restoration of the wetland to the long-term advantage of the local economy.

Representatives of the GeoparkLIFE project received the accolade at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel and tourism convention.

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LIFE project wins coveted award for sustainable tourism promotion

Photo:GeoparkLIFE

23 March 2016 The GeoparkLIFE project (LIFE11 ENV/IE/000922) has won a prestigious National Geographic prize for its efforts to protect and enhance the pristine environment of Burren in western Ireland.

The Destination Leadership award recognises the efforts made by the GeoparkLIFE project consortium to encourage the local tourist industry to embrace sustainable practices. The prize, one of National Geographic’s World Legacy Awards, reflects the project’s success in combining the goals of environmental protection and tourism development.

Representatives of the GeoparkLIFE project received the accolade at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel and tourism convention.

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LCiP Awards 2016: celebrating SMEs reducing their environmental impact

LCIP LOGO

22 March 2016 The deadline for entries to this year's LCiP Awards in Wallonia is fast approaching. The LCiP Awards are part of the LIFE project LifeCycle in Practice (LIFE12 ENV/FR/001113) that helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Belgium (Wallonia), France (Nord Pas de Calais), Portugal and Spain (Basque Country) reduce the environmental impact of their products and services through the uptake of life-cycle approaches.

Applying life-cycle approaches such as life-cycle assessments, ecodesign and environmental labelling is becoming progressively more important as businesses are increasingly expected to enhance resource efficiency, pollute less and generally be more environmentally-friendly.

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Belgian LIFE Nature project launches route app for visitors

LIFE Grote NeteWoud project app

21 March 2016 The LIFE Grote NeteWoud project (LIFE12 NAT/BE/000438) has a new route app to encourage exploration of natural areas in Flanders managed by project beneficiary Natuurpunt. The route app was launched on 20 March 2016 in the Grote Netewoud Visitors Centre in Meerhout, Belgium.

At the launch, the app was introduced by Noah Janssen, Director of Nature Management at Natuurpunt and people were given the first opportunity to walk the routes in the Grote Netewoud nature reserve with this new information resource.
Visitors can download the app for free before starting on the nature trails. Along the way, it offers explanations and pictures of the typical plants, animals, landscapes and cultural heritage, together with general information about the Natura 2000 network and the LIFE programme.  The route app provides a choice of free walking tours covering the whole of Flanders, with area maps and a simple interface for selecting nearby routes. It also notifies users when new routes are added.

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LIFE announces the Best Projects of 2015

Best Projects of 2015

17 March 2016 The most effective and inspiring LIFE projects completed during 2015 will be honoured at award ceremonies taking place during EU Green Week on 31 May 2016. And they can now be exclusively revealed online…  

In all, some 52 Best Projects have been selected, based on scoring of a range of criteria (see the LIFE Best Projects brochures for details). The winning projects represent the three strands of the LIFE+ programme - Nature; Environment; and Information & Communication – and are drawn from 15 EU Member States in total (see infographic).

Below you will find the full list of projects, presented in chronological order by project reference. To find out more about all 52 award-winners, check out the Best Projects section of the LIFE website.

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Beyond Wood - forest ecosystems services policy conference

forest ecosystems services policy conference

16 March 2016 The European Commission is organising a policy conference on Europe's forest ecosystems. Beyond wood - the multiple services provided by Europe's forests, which takes place on 23 May 2016 in Brussels, will gather key players in the field to discuss what needs to be done and how the EU can help.

The conference is based around three themes:  

  1. EU forests ecosystems, which will examine the challenges and opportunities of forest provisioning, regulation, habitat and cultural services.
  2. Preserving and enhancing EU forest ecosystems, which will look at real-life experiences of managing forest landscapes and enhancing their benefits in different contexts.
  3. EU actions to benefit from, and preserve, forest ecosystems.

A panel debate will tease out possible pathways to the achievement of the EU biodiversity targets and enhancing forest ecosystem services.

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Spanish national television features LIFE project documentary series

RTVE website

10 March 2016 Awareness of the Natura 2000 network in Spain is getting a major boost thanks to the LIFE project Activa Red Natura 2000 (LIFE11 INF/ES/000655). The first episode of the LIFE project's specially developed documentary series for national broadcaster RTVE national was shown on 5 March 2016. The 28-episode series is being broadcast weekly on Saturdays at 13h30 on the RTVE channel La 2, and also every Sunday at 09h05 on Radio 5.

The 30-minute episodes look at the importance of the Natura 2000 network in protecting Spain’s important natural and cultural heritage, including vulnerable species and habitats, and it focuses on people who are conducting sustainable economic activities in the protected sites.

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Your opinion counts! Today starts our survey for the LIFE website

LIFE 2016 survey

09 March 2016 Please take a couple of minutes of your time to anwser to our user satisfaction survey for the LIFE website. This survey will help us to re-design and improve the website. It will be open for two months until 07th of June.

Results of the survey will be shared on the LIFE website and on our Facebook page mid June. Please note that no private data is collected in this survey.

We thank you for participating!

To the survey >>

LIFE projects highlighted at Italian workshop on treatment and reuse of dredged sediment

Photo: LIFE12 ENV/IT/000442

03 March 2016 Two Italian LIFE projects, LIFE CLEANSED (LIFE12 ENV/IT/000652) and SEKRET Life (LIFE12 ENV/IT/000442), presented their findings at a workshop organised by the region of Tuscany on 24 February 2016 in Florence. Both projects are dedicated to the treatment and reuse of sediment dredged from rivers and ports. They contributed to the workshop session, ‘Dredging in ports: a challenge to the environment’.

The workshop was attended by, among others, Federica Fratoni, councillor for the environment of the region of Tuscany; Giovanni Motta the Manager of environmental services for the port authority of Livorno; Elizabeth Scialanca, Desk Officer (DG ENV LIFE Unit), European Commission; and NEEMO project monitor Roberto Ghezzi .

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LIFE wastewater project wins sustainability prize 

WaterReuse LOGO

29 February 2016 Spain's Murcia region has awarded a prestigious sustainability prize to WaterReuse (LIFE12 ENV/ES/000184), a LIFE environmental project led by a private-sector chemicals business, Destilerías Muñoz Gálvez. The award reflects the project's contribution to reducing water consumption and cleaning up industrial wastewater for reuse. 

Destilerías Muñoz Gálvez - one of the winners of the Murcia regional government's 8th Regional Sustainable Development Awards in the eco-efficiency category - is the coordinator of the two-year, €1.6 million LIFE project that concluded in September 2015. Half of the project budget was provided by LIFE, the EU's flagship environmental programme. 

The jury of environmental experts awarding the prize highlighted the project's work to remove pollutants in wastewater from chemical processes, and to reuse 95 per cent of that wastewater.

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LIFE platform meeting on restoration of sand dune habitats

Photo: LIFE09 NAT/NL/000418

26 February 2016 LIFE will hold a platform meeting and networking event on the restoration of coastal and inland dune habitats in Zandvoort, Netherlands, from 15 to 17 June.

The platform will, for the first time, bring together projects focusing on the restoration of these habitats ahead of the next Atlantic and Boreal Seminars for the Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process. The experience of LIFE projects in the restoration of coastal and inland dune habitats will make an important contribution to the background documents for the seminars.

A key element of the Biogeographical Process is ongoing networking and the exchange of knowledge and best practices amongst those involved in managing Natura 2000 network sites, with the aim of promoting synergies amongst Member States that will help them achieve the targets the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. Best practices demonstrated by LIFE projects in the management of dune habitat types and key species have a valuable role to play.

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First bearded vulture eggs laid for 60 years in Bulgaria

Photo:LIFE08 NAT/BG/000278

22 February 2016 The LIFE project Vultures’ Return (LIFE08 NAT/BG/000278) finished last year, but the project team continue to see the fruits of their work. On 7 February 2016 the project beneficiary Green Balkans announced that they had observed the first egg of bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) laid in Bulgaria for over 60 years.*

“The egg was laid in our Wildlife Rescue Centre, following eight years of care and attempts to persuade the extremely aggressive female to settle with the male that was chosen for her and after a major reconstruction of the aviary,” explains Project Manager Elena Kmetova.

Green Balkans established its Wildlife Rescue Centre in 1996, with the aim of bringing back species that had gone extinct in Bulgaria.

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New tourism guidelines from Slovenian bear project

LIFE DINALP BEAR POSTER

18 February 2016 The Slovenian project LIFE DINALP BEAR (LIFE13 NAT/SI/000550), which targets the conservation of brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations, has just published new guidelines on responsible tourism practices.

The guidelines were prepared to introduce the concept of the non-consumptive use of bears in tourism in the northern Dinarics and to set specific recommendations for the development of different non-consumptive products.

The guidelines note that “although bears are hunted in many European countries, they are increasingly valued alive in the context of wildlife tourism, and for conservation and educational reasons. The non-consumptive use of bears in tourism takes advantage of the growing need of humans to experience ‘pure’ wildlife and involves recreational activities that don’t ‘use’ bears but value them for their role as a top predator and an integral part of a well-functioning ecosystem. Bear watching and photography are nowadays the most common forms of non-consumptive bear use.”

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New LIFE poster on bioenergy

LIFE and bioenergy

17 February 2016 The latest LIFE poster focuses on bioenergy. It shows how LIFE, in a bid to support the EU's transition to a low-carbon economy and move away from fossil fuels, is instrumental in helping develop innovative technologies that transform biomass resources, such as agricultural residues, organic waste or energy crops, into useful energy carriers such as heating, electricity and transport fuel.

The new bioenergy poster presents four examples of innovative technology:

PROGRASS (LIFE07 ENV/D/000222) focuses on grassland biomass using a state of the art technique known as the Integrated Generation of Solid Fuel and Biogas from Biomass (IFBB). Thanks to IFBB, the project team discovered that 45% of the energy stored in grassland biomass can be transformed into heat.  In combining the IFBB-system with a biogas plant that produces excess heat, the value of heat provision can be raised by up to 53% of the gross energy yield. The team used the technique to successfully promote biomass and biogas production from protected grassland sites and ensure the livelihood of small farmers in marginal areas.

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DISCOVERED LIFE documentary on pesticide pollution wins award

Photo:LIFE12 ENV/ES/000761

16 February 2016 The DISCOVERED LIFE project (LIFE12 ENV/ES/000761) has produced a documentary entitled ‘Discovering Lindane: the legacy of HCH production’.
The documentary, which was released late last year, received a prize in the XVIII Félix de Azara Awards 2015, given by the province of Huesca for the best film in the social media category

The 33-minute film tells the story of how the uncontrolled dumping of toxic hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) waste by the company Inquinosa between 1974 and 1992 led to one of Western Europe’s most serious pollution incidents. This currently affects more than 40 000 people in the Gállego River Basin in the Spanish autonomous region of Aragón.

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LIFE COLRECEPS raises awareness of polystyrene reuse in schools

Photo:LIFE12 ENV/ES/000754

15 February 2016 The LIFE COLRECEPS project (LIFE12 ENV/ES/000754) held an awareness-raising event on 15 January 2016 in the nursery school COLORINES, Laguna de Duero, near Valladolid.

The project, which was launched to construct a demonstration plant for the recycling of expanded polystyrene (EPS) waste in the Spanish province of Valladolid, has been working with the nursery school to develop activities for children.

When adapted for playschool-age children, the message of the project is simple: “White foam [expanded polystyrene] is not for throwing away.” Activities are also teaching the children about cooperation and team work.

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Indicative planning for the LIFE call 2016

LIFE LOGO

08 February 2016 An indicative planning for the LIFE call 2016 is now available. Applicants busy designing a potential new LIFE project now have a rough guide to the expected deadlines and submission routes. In addition, the total budget allocations for project types and subprogrammes are detailed.

The official 2016 call is provisionally scheduled to be published in the second half of May. Once ready, an application package and supporting information will also be made available, similar to previous calls.

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LIFE CREAMAgua wins prize for the defence of nature

Photo: LIFE09 ENV/000431

28 January 2016 On Saturday, 23 January 2016 the LIFE Environment project CREAMAgua (LIFE09 ENV/000431) received the XXXV Jaulín prize – in the ‘regional’ category – for the defence of nature. For 35 years the Jaulín awards have been recognising the work of individuals and organisations that help towards the conservation of nature.

The Jaulín award is the third such prize received by LIFE CREAMAgua in recognition of the project’s great results to date. In November 2013 it was awarded a runners-up award in the Conama prize for sustainability and two years ago it received the 16th Prize for the Environment Spanish Autonomous Community of Aragon.

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LIFE environmental impact assessment tool is widely adopted

Photo: LIFE11 ENV/FI/000905

27 January 2016 The recently completed LIFE project IMPERIA (LIFE11 ENV/FI/000905), which developed an ARVI tool for carrying out environmental impact assessment (EIA), is already creating an impression. The project engaged experts, researchers and authorities in Finland, who are interested in applying the ARVI method.

The project's Excel-based ARVI method is moreover already being used by the largest consulting offices and has been applied to eight extensive EIA initiatives. These include the impact assessments of the increased use of biofuels by Helsingin Energia in 2014 and of the natural gas pipe between Finland and Estonia (Balticconnector) in 2015.

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Commission invests € 63.8 million in new environmental projects across Member States

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26 January 2016 The European Commission today announced an investment of € 63.8 million for the first-ever "Integrated Projects" to be funded under the LIFE programme for the environment. "Integrated Projects" were introduced to implement environmental legislation on a wider scale and increase the impact of funding for plans developed on the regional, multi-regional or national level. The six projects selected have a total budget of € 108.7 million, including € 63.8 million of EU co-financing. They could leverage and coordinate over € 1 billion in complementary funding from EU agricultural and regional funds, as well as national and private funds. The money will support projects in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, Finland, and the UK.

The main feature of these projects is their all-encompassing approach, ensuring involvement of multiple stakeholders and promoting the mobilisation of at least one other funding source, be it EU, national or private. LIFE Integrated Projects were introduced to help Member States comply with key EU legislation in four areas: Nature, Water, Air and Waste.

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LIFE project wins Polish Innovation Award

ENERGA LOGO

25 January 2016 The project LIFE-ENERGA Living Lab-PL (LIFE13 ENV/PL/000004) was awarded with the prestigious Polish Innovation Award 2015 during the Third Polish Entrepreneurship Congress at the beginning of November in Łódź.

The award is granted annually by the Polish agency for enterprise development and the Polish newspaper Forum Przedsiębiorczości to businesses and projects that have shown particular innovation in the field of research and development. In 2015 the award highlighted activities perceived as being particularly important for the future of Poland and Europe. Its main theme was innovative synergies between science and research.

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New publication: LIFE and new partnerships for nature conservation

LIFE and Climate change adaptation

22 January 2016 The latest LIFE Nature Focus publication looks at the importance of partnership work to the successful implementation of EU nature and biodiversity policy, in particular the management of the Natura 2000 network. Effective conservation today means working with a variety of different stakeholder groups. It means going beyond traditional partnerships with those who make a living from the land or sea – farmers, fishermen, foresters etc. – and working with society as a whole.

The 76-page brochure, LIFE and new partnerships for nature conservation, gives a taste of the breadth of stakeholder groups atypical to nature conservation that LIFE projects have worked with up till now. It reveals the secrets of successful projects and highlights important lessons for building strong and durable stakeholder partnerships for managing EU biodiversity.

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The newsletter LIFENews, issued every month, features information on the LIFE programme, presents successful projects and identifies events and publications linked to the programme.

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