It was not the events at Fukushima that put renewable energies on the top of todays most pressing and most discussed issues. With the Energy Strategy for 2020 the European Union aims to increase the share of renewable energy to 20%. However it should be noted that renewable energy projects can have negative (and positive) impacts on the environment.
The ambitious goals of the Energy Strategies will not be implemented without effects on the environment. Ecosystems will be impaired and lost services need to be replaced, negative implications for birds and other species are known and have to be avoided in the future. Even the green energies: solar, wind and hydro don’t come without environmental impacts. Wind power plants can cause the death of birds; ground-mount solar plants consume land and hydro power creates fluctuations in the flow of rivers and streams.
Therefore, lack of public acceptance and administrative hindrances in environmental permitting procedures and environmental concerns are often quoted as standing in the way of the expansion of sustainable energy systems. Are these concerns justified? And can they be addressed? One aim of the workshop is to give an answer to these questions and to examine how these barriers can be overcome by designing the renewable energy or transmission project in an environmentally friendly way so that the seemingly "opposing forces” profit and nature are reconciled. Many good examples already exist, clear cutting under transmission lines can be replaced, impacts of wind farms can be minimized and solar plants for example can even enhance biodiversity. The workshop aims to illustrate these best practices.
The partners of the LIFE + project 3WATER are delighted to invite you to the « European Conference on the participation of private landowners in the management of Natura 2000 areas» which will take place in the University Foundation(rue d'Egmont 11) in Brussels on Wednesday 9th November 2011. The conference will be followed by a cocktail and a field trip on Thursday 10thNovember. The key speech will be delivered by Vesna VALANT, Member of the Cabinet of the EU Environment Commissioner Janez POTOCNIK. Other speakers include:
Participants of the conference will have a unique opportunity to discuss with distinguished speakers how to involve more landowners in Natura 2000 management and how to reward them for their contribution. The participation in the conference and in the field trip is free of charge. English-Dutch translation will be provided. There will be a bus going from Brussels (the Luxembourg Square) to the project area and back to Brussels on 10th November 2011. For the bus, please register at email@example.com.
Please register by filling in the form available via the following link, where you will also find the full programme of the event. More information about the project is available on the project website www.3water.eu.
The Life+ Basque Estuaries project (LIFE08NAT/E/000055) was launched to restore the habitats of Community interest in three estuaries of the Basque coast affected by the invasive exotic plant species Baccharis halimifolia. This plant has invaded much of the European Atlantic coast. Biological invasions are a global problem that affects the conservation of the Natura 2000 sites.
With a view to facilitating collaboration between governments and the sharing of information and experiences, the Basque Department of Environment, Regional Planning, Agriculture and Fishing and Ihobe have organised a meeting of the government bodies responsible for estuary management to address the current situation regarding the invasion of Baccharis halimifolia along the Atlantic coast of Europe and explore the ways in which the species is being managed in the different regions affected. This event, which will take place on 23 November 2011, will bring together approximately 15 representatives from different organisations involved in coastal management.
On 24 November the delegates will attend a presentation of the Basque Life+ Estuaries project, with input from all the agencies involved in the project, and will visit the areas of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve where it is currently being implemented.
Lastly, on 25 November a workshop on the issues surrounding invasive exotic species in the Natura 2000 Network will be held for nature site managers, government officials, researchers and other interested parties. Participants will discuss the implications of new legislation at the European, national and regional levels, the species that have the greatest impact on habitats and species protected by European directives, and the fundamental aspects of managing biological invasions.
The three events will be held at the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, the principal target of the Basque Life+ Estuaries project.
The LIFE+ Environment Capital of Biodiversity project (LIFE07 ENV/D/000224) will announce the names of the second group of cities to be made "European Capitals of Biodiversity" at an event in Brussels next month.
The European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, will present the European Capitals of Biodiversity 2011 awards at ICLEI's 10th "Breakfast at Sustainability's (B@S) event on Thursday 24 November 2011, in the Liaison Office of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen, South Tyrol (Italy) in Brussels. More than 500 municipalities from France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Spain participated in the contest, which has been led by the LIFE project beneficiary Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.
The first four "Capitals of Biodiversity" were named in 2010 as Grande Sythe in France, Tata in Hungary, El Real Sitio de San Ildefonso in Spain and Želiezovce in Slovakia.
The goal of the LIFE+ Environment project is to build the capacity of local authorities to protect nature and biodiversity in urban areas and to support and motivate new initiatives in this field by promoting “Capital of Nature and Biodiversity” competitions. The aim is for the awards to encourage local authorities to take concrete measures for the protection of nature and biodiversity and to raise awareness on good practices. It is hoped that the awards will continue after LIFE co-funding ends in March 2012.
In addition to the awards ceremony, the B@S event - subtitled "Capitals of Biodiversity – European municipalities lead the way in local biodiversity protection" - will include presentations by Commissioner Potočnik and Vice-President of the European Parliament, Isabelle Durant MEP on the theme 'From biodiversity policy to local implementation'.
The third and final phase of the LIFE+ Information & Communication campaign, the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR), will take place on 19-27 November 2011. The aim is to inform the greatest number possible of Europeans about the simple actions that can be taken up in everyday life to help contribute to waste reduction efforts.
Following successful campaign’s in 2009 and 2010, the 2011 ‘Week’ will involve public authorities and a wide variety of project sponsors (government, communities, school groups or NGOs) from across the EU. Over 4 000 awareness actions are expected, highlighting one or several of the following five themes: Too much waste – Better production – Better consumption – A longer life for products – Less waste thrown away.
The LIFE+ project brings together a group of five European partners, coordinated by ADEME France, the project beneficiary., For more information on the project, including the list of 2011 ‘organisers and actions’, visit the EWWR website.
The LIFE+ project VALIRE (Valorisation of Incineration REsidues) will host its mid-term seminar during the 2011 European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR). The seminar, to be held on 25 November, will highlight the results already achieved concerning the valorisation of slag and fly ash from municipal waste (co)-incinerators.
The principle aim of the 2008-12 LIFE+ project (LIFE08 ENV/IT/000421) is to recycle these combustion residues, reducing the environmental problems associated with the newest generation of co-incinerators to almost zero. The project is carried out by the project beneficiary, Sasil SpA in collaboration with project partner, Stazione Sperimentale del Vetro (SSV).
The mid-term seminar is being organised by SSV. For more information, visit the beneficiary website: www.sasil-life.com. For more information on the LIFE+ project, read the web summary on the LIFE project database.
LIFE project DEMOCOPHES (LIFE09/ENV/BE/000410) is organising, with its twin project COPHES (Consortium to Perform Human Biomonitoring on a European Scale), a Human Biomonitoring Week in Brussels, from 28 November to 2 December 2011, in order to discuss and present some of their common work.
The week will begin with a closed session on Monday and Tuesday in which COPHES and DEMOCOPHES participants will be exchanging experiences of implementing the projects.
On Wednesday 30 November, a first open workshop will focus on HBM experiences in Europe, highlighting the policy implications that will be discussed during the press conference held at the end of the workshop. This press conference will aim to underline the importance of the approach for public policies.
On 1 and 2 December, closed training sessions and open workshops will be held on quality of analytical data in HBM, bisphenol A, triclosan and parabens in HBM (analysed by a group of DEMOCOPHES countries) and the links between the ongoing work on HBM and indoor/outdoor air quality.
f you would like to know more about this event and register for one of the open workshops, download the adhoc form.