01 April 2011The ‘EWWR – European Week of Waste Reduction’ project (LIFE07 INF/F/000185) recently held an awards ceremony for the 2010 EWWR in Brussels. Organised by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) on 28 March, the event recognised the most outstanding awareness raising actions implemented during the 2010 EWWR in each of the five project categories: administration and public authority; associations and NGO; business and industry; educational establishment and other.
From 20-28 November of last year, a total of 4,346 EWWR actions took place in 24 countries throughout Europe and beyond with the common aim of promoting waste reduction. The best actions were presented with awards by William Neale, member of the Cabinet of the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik.
The winners were Environmental Authority of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (Catalonia, Spain), Ecoscience Provence (France), Cordoniu Group (Catalonia, Spain), St Mary's Episcopal Primary School (Scotland, UK), and Elisa Andretti (with the support of the University of Malta). In addition, a special jury prize was presented to Waste Watchers - AERESS (Spain), in collaboration with RREUSE (European Coordination). Its action formed part of a pan-European initiative of collecting old items no longer wanted by their owners and reselling them in reuse centres that weigh and communicate the amount of items they sell, i.e. the amount of waste avoided.
For more information about the awards ceremony and descriptions of winning entries, please visit www.ewwr.eu/press
31 March 2011The twentieth anniversary of the LIFE programme's Environment Policy and Governance component provides an opportune moment to take stock of its contribution to improving the environment in the EU and to consider future challenges.
On the 25-26 May, the European Commission will organise a two-day conference to assess the contribution of LIFE's Environment Policy and Governance component to the implementation and updating of EU environment policy.
For 20 years now, LIFE projects have supported the development of new solutions to environmental challenges and to the dissemination of best practices, in both the public and the private sector.
The first day of the conference will look at examples of these projects, and will assess how the solutions and innovations they have generated have contributed to addressing environmental challenges and to updating EU environment policy.
The second day of the conference will examine the impact of LIFE projects in terms of promoting the dissemination and replication of solutions, and in terms of their contribution to the success of EU policy. It will end with a high-level session involving key decision-makers, which will reflect on the discussed issues.
The conference will bring together professionals, policy-makers and stakeholders of the LIFE programme and will also provide a valuable opportunity for networking and the exchange of experience.
Further details, including conference registration are avaible on our conference pages.
22 March 2011Three people caught placing poison baits intended for protected birds of prey have been sentenced to a year and four months prison and fined more than €24 300.
The reduction in illegal poison incidents affecting protected in Spain is the main aim of the ongoing VENENO NO project (LIFE08 NAT/E/000062). The convictions represent a major step in the successful implementation of a national strategy against the use of poisoned bait, which the project is helping draw up. The sentences also demonstrate the effectiveness of the regional patrols and action plans that the project is aiming to establish.
The priority species targeted by the project include the Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti), the Lammergeier vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), the red kite (Milvus milvus) and the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) (including the Canary Islands subspecies) – all are listed in the Birds and Habitats Directive.
The project is also working to put in place greater controls on the sale of licensed toxic products and increase public support for the prevention of their use.
18 March 2011UK LIFE project MoorLIFE (LIFE08 NAT/UK/00202) is about to get underway on the moors of the Peak District National Park and South Pennine region and helicopters will play a key role in supporting the work in one of the UK’s most inaccessible workplaces!
Work over the next five years by the Moors for the Future Partnership will begin the process of returning 1.6 square kilometres (the equivalent of 320 soccer pitches) of badly damaged peat moorland to a healthy condition and will protect a much larger area.
Healthy peat moors:
Work over the next few months will include spreading 24,000 large dumpy bags of heather cuttings (brash) over 1.6 million square metres of bare and eroding peat in order to encourage the growth of a layer of vegetation to protect the peat.
The heather has been cut within the Peak District / South Pennine area to ensure that only local plants are used and will be transported by road to 11 airlifting sites. From there it will be airlifted by helicopter onto the moor for spreading onto the land – two thirds of it will be spread by hand!
Matt Buckler, Conservation Works Manager for the Moors for the Future Partnership said:“Helicopters are the only way that we can get materials into the inaccessible places that we are working in without damaging the fragile surface of the moor”.
A wide partnership, led by the Peak District National Park Authority, is funding this work including Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, National Trust, Natural England, Defra and the Environment Agency but the largest single funder is the EU Life+ Programme which will be contributing £5.5 million over five years as part of the Moors for the Future Partnership’s ‘MoorLIFE’ Project.
Read more on the MoorLIFE website.
15 March 2011 A two-month-old monk seal pup, which had become separated from his mother and was full of internal parasites, has been rescued by the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk (MOm).
The pup is one of only 600 individuals of this endangered seal species – it is listed in Annex II and IV of the Habitats directive – that remain in the wild. The research team, which discovered the seal while monitoring a colony on an island in the south-western Aegean Sea, plans to re-release the pup, named Nireas, following his full recovery.
MOm has been the beneficiary of several LIFE projects, which have helped create a monitoring network to rescue seals in difficulty. Human activity has encroached into the seals' habitat, pushing the animals from the beaches into caves, from where they are more likely to be swept away from maternal contact. LIFE projects have aimed to raise awareness of the plight of this species and reduce conflict with local fishermen.
14 March 2011The LIFE+ project INDEMARES - Inventory and designation of marine Natura 2000 areas in the Spanish sea (LIFE07 NAT/E/000732) - has made the fascinating discovery of a new species of soft coral in the Menorca Channel. The species has been named Nidalia indemares in honour of the project.
As part of its work to increase knowledge and understanding of the marine ecosystems around Spain, the project conducted a survey of the Menorca Channel seabed - located between the Spanish islands of Mallorca and Menorca. It unexpectedly discovered the presence of the Nidalia genus of soft coral, including the one totally new species. The important find suggests new openings for learning and research on the historical development of continents and oceans, which could increase marine understanding more generally. Currently, eight species of Nidalia have been identified in the Indian Ocean and five in the Atlantic Ocean.
The survey was carried out by the Marine Science Institute of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) on the Oceonographic Ship ‘Garcia del Cid’. CSIC is one of the key research partners of the LIFE project run by the ‘Biodiversidad’ Foundation. The seafloor surveys have so far found several biological communities in an excellent state of conservation due to limited fishing which also uses traditional techniques. The project hopes to protect such sustainable marine practices and ecosystems via the extension of the Natura 2000 network to such marine areas of Spain.
For more information on Indemares, please visit the project website.
08 March 2011 A first series of Frequently Asked Questions have been published as a downloadable PDF in the FAQ page in our funding section. All applicants wishing to submit a LIFE+ 2011 proposal are kindly reminded to consult the FAQs section on a regular basis throughout the preparation period, or to subcribe to our RSS, where new versions will be announced as they become available.
03 March 2011Up to 20% of car emissions can be associated with the vehicles’ air conditioning (AC) system. These AC systems are an increasingly common feature of modern car fleets and not only do they consume large amounts of energy but they also often rely on the chemical refrigerant R134a (Tetra-fluorineethane), which is a powerful greenhouse gas (estimated as being more than 1400 times as harmful as CO2). Vehicles can release large amounts of R134a as a result of inadequate maintenance and accidents.
A German LIFE project (PRO KLIMA) is working on reducing the environmental footprint of car AC systems and as part of their work they are seeking assistance from the general public to participate in a survey about car AC use. Launched during mid February, the on-line questionnaire is being organised by the LIFE project partners - the ecological automobile club VCD and the environmental organisation Deutsche Umwelthilfe.
In return for answering the survey’s seven short questions at www.umfrage-autoklimaanlage.de, respondents are provided with tips and advice about how to minimise negative impacts from car AC systems.
More information about the survey and PROKLIMA’s wider information campaign about car AC impacts is available from the LIFE project’s website.