07 July 2010 Good news from the LIFE project Lippeaue (LIFE05 NAT/D/000057), situated in North Rhine-Wesphalia, Germany: for the first time in 50 years white stork breeding has proved successful in the Lippe plains near Hamm, where a LIFE project was completed recently.
An infant storck was born on 11 June 2010. Its parents built their nest on a 'wheel', which the LIFE project set up last year on top of a poplar with the help of the from the neighbouring daycare centre, “Villa Kunterbunt”. The kids have already named the baby stork, Johanna.
Watch a video of the baby stork (in German)
13 July 2010 The conference "LIFE Nature and Biodiversity – preparing the future" took place in Brussels on 31 May and 1 June 2010. It had about 350 participants who discussed the future of the Nature and Biodiversity component of LIFE+.
A summary note including some key ideas that obtained a certain degree of consensus among the participants is now available for download.
The conference has been recorded and is available as video stream:
For those who were unable to attend or for those who would like to refresh their memories on the different contributions made to this very open debate, speakers presentations are now available below:
Presentations include those by representatives of the European Commission, LIFE programme coordinators, regional governments, universities and NGOs.
(Update 10/08/10) Conference assessment summary now available
14 July 2010 The LIFE+ Nature project Save the Raptors (Conservation of imperial eagle and saker falcon in key Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria - LIFE07 NAT/BG/000068) has announced the start of its tracking programme of Eastern imperial eagles (Aquila heliaca).
Seven eagles aged about two months have so far had state-of-the-art satellite transmitters attached to their backs by partners from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Hungarian Ornithological Society. The transmitters weigh only 70g and are charged with solar energy.
The tagging will allow these experts to track the birds’ habits and identify causes of mortality. This information is crucial for defining protection measures to ensure the survival of the species in Bulgaria. This population is seen as essential for saving the eagles in Europe and globally.
This tagging programme aims to supplement and complement the data from a similar action in 2009, which tracked seven birds, only two of which returned safely from migration. Each bird has been named by different sponsors.
For more information, the latest news and photos of the project, please visit the project website.
23 July 2010 The European Commission has approved funding for 210 new projects under the third call for the LIFE+ programme (2007-2013). The projects are from across the EU and cover actions in the fields of nature conservation, environmental policy, and information and communication. Overall, they represent a total investment of €515 million, of which the EU will provide €249.8 million.
Read the full press release and a summary of the project by country. Corrigendum: The annex of the press release incorrectly indicates "ITALY - 56 projects (94.2 million) - LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance (40 projects – 64.4 million)". This should instead read "ITALY - 49 projects (94.2 million) - LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance (33 projects – 64.4 million)"
It is also possible to contact the relevant national authorities.
26 July 2010 The LIFE Environment CLEANTRUCK project (LIFE08 ENV/S/000269) has outlined its aims at the recent Inspirational Day conference in Karlstad, Sweden. Delegates at the event, which informs Swedish organisations about EU-funding opportunities, heard Björn Hugosson from the Environment and Health administration of project beneficiary, the City of Stockholm, explain how CleanTruck plans to reduce the environmental impact of heavy goods transport in the Swedish capital by rolling out a fleet of 80 biofuel-powered delivery trucks. “From early next year, new filling stations with biogas, bioethanol, or plug-in facilities for electrical hybrids should be up and running at local transport hubs,” explained Mr. Hugosson. SEKAB will provide ED95 bioethanol extracted from Brazilian sugar cane at its’ pilot plant in northern Sweden, while another project partner, AGA Gas, will supply biogas extracted from locally-collected waste.
In addition, delivery drivers will be offered “eco driving” training, said Mr. Hugosson, and a new method will be tested to keep truck tyre pressure at optimal levels. This will involve filling the tyres with hydrogen rather than air in order to “decrease fuel use, decrease wear on the tyres and save money,” revealed Ragnar Sjödahl of AGA Gas.
Although heavy goods vehicles represent just 10% of road traffic in Stockholm, they account for almost 50% of the environmental load of the city’s total traffic flows. The CLEANTRUCK project aims to reduce this environmental load and is targeting emissions cuts of 1 500 tonnes/yr of CO2, 17 tonnes/yr of NOx and 240 kg/yr of the breathable fraction of particulate matter (PM).
CLEANTRUCK is about “showing where we want to go in the future,” in terms of improving the environmental record of heavy goods transport, said Mr. Sjödahl. As well as biofuel-powered trucks and hydrogen-filled tyres, other 'green' innovations to be trialled by the LIFE project include replacing hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as a cooling agent in refrigeration trucks with excess CO2 from local industrial processes.
Mr. Hugosson was “optimistic” that other European cities of a “similar size and situation” would be able to replicate CLEANTRUCK. “This should not stop at this project but [should pave the way for low-polluting] cars to be available on a wider scale,” he told conference delegates in Karlstad. The project estimates that, based on the amounts of ethanol and biogas being produced in the EU, at least 100 000 lorries could be running on these fuels when CLEANTRUCK is concluded. This would reduce the haulage industry’s reliance on fossil fuels by up to 80%, thus bringing about “significant” emission cuts.
For further information, see the project summary
28 July 2010 A LIFE Nature project on “Actions for the reintroduction of the Bearded Vulture in Andalusia” (LIFE04 NAT/ES/000056) has won an award for a documentary film produced to highlight the current situation of the bearded vulture in the South of the Iberian Peninsula.
The documentary “La Sierra Incompleta” (The Incomplete Mountain Range) presents the extinction of the bearded vulture from the region in the late 1980s and the local work undertaken to reintroduce the species since then. It takes the viewer on a journey with the new birds from the breeding programme, through release, to watching the birds’ first flights in the wild.
Written and directed by the communication team of the project beneficiary, Fundación Gypaetus, the film highlights the important role of the rural population and local culture for the future conservation of the species. It includes the perspectives of local stockbreeders, hunters and schoolchildren and how threats to the birds can be avoided.
The film received its award at an annual international festival devoted to films about aerial sports and nature: XI Festival del Cine del Aire (Film Festival of the Air). A total of 25 films from eight countries were competing in this edition, held in Sierra de Segura, Andalusia, 2-5 July.
The LIFE project worked from 2004 to 2009 to establish a viable population of the bearded vulture in the South of the Iberian Peninsula, releasing 19 birds into the wild. A key element of this work was creating better conditions for the survival of the birds, including by increasing awareness of their needs and threats amongst local stakeholders.
The 51-minute Spanish film can be viewed here.
A DVD with English/French subtitles is also available from: email@example.com
For more information on the overall project, please visit the project website.