21 November 2012 A photo of jewellery that was produced from recycled waste by the LIFE project ‘COSMOS’ (LIFE08 ENV/IT/000434) has won first prize in the ‘Energy and Natural Resources’ category in a picture competition organised by the European Projects Association (EPA).
The photo finished second in the competition overall, receiving more than 500 votes and a ‘special mention’ from the organisers.
The EPA aims to improve participation in EU-funded projects by providing necessary information, networking, services and tools. In collaboration with the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Academy for Education and Social Research, it is holding an annual competition to highlight the role that European projects are playing in achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.
‘COSMOS’ – COlloidal Silica Medium to Obtain Safe inert: the case of incinerator fly ash – was launched in 2008 to find industrial-scale applications for treated fly ash, a significant by-product of solid-waste incineration. The project is also aiming to establish a protocol for the construction of a prototype system capable of generating 100 kg/day of the COSMOS reprocessed fly ash filler.
In 2010, students from the University of Brescia (Italy) showcased jewellery made from recycled ash at the Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle, France. The jewellery was the first product made of the filler to be exhibited publicly.
20 November 2012 A workshop was recently held in Brussels to discuss how LIFE is establishing 'prioritised action frameworks' (PAFs)– frameworks that set out the priorities for nature conservation for Member States, identify required management measures and outline necessary actions for the next funding period, 2014-2020. The kick-off workshop focused on common issues for all PAFs, opportunities for the exchange of knowledge among them and common reporting requirements.
The process of defining PAFs was initiated in 2011 when the LIFE Nature-Unit opened a call for proposals. Eight were selected in the first round of funding:
|LIFE11 NAT/ES/000700||Elaboration of the Prioritized Action Framework for Natura 2000 in Spain|
|LIFE11 NAT/ES/000699||Natura 2000 management and monitoring programme for Mediterranean wetlands and rivers|
|LIFE11 NAT/UK/000384||Improvement Programme for England's Natura 2000 Sites|
|LIFE11 NAT/UK/000385||Development of a programme for the management and restoration of Natura 2000 in Wales|
|LIFE11 NAT/LV/000371||National Conservation and Management Programme for Natura 2000 Sites in Latvia|
|LIFE11 NAT/IT/000044||Development of the strategy to manage the Natura 2000 network in the Lombardia Region|
|LIFE11 NAT/IT/000187||T.E.N. (Trentino Ecological Network): a focal point for a Pan-Alpine Ecological Network|
|LIFE11 NAT/SI/000880||Natura 2000 Management programme for Slovenia for the period 2014-2020|
|Report of the meeting held in Brussels on 3rd October 2012|
16 November 2012 The PRO KLIMA (LIFE09 INF/DE/000012) LIFE project focusing on mobile air-conditioning systems (MAC systems) recently created an animated short film, ‘Cool down but be smart’.
The film addresses the environmental problems related to the additional consumption of fuel due to the use of the MAC system, and offers drivers recommendations on how and when they should use their MAC system. Available in German and English, the film also warns of the negative environmental impact of the refrigerant R134a.
The English-language version is available online on YouTube and on the project website.
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has predicted that up to nearly one billion air-conditioned vehicles will be on the road by 2015. The commonly used refrigerant is extremely harmful to the climate. As a result, the project beneficiary, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), and its partner Verkehrsclub Deutschland, launched the informational campaign PRO KLIMA to draw attention to this problem and raise awareness of efficient, alternative MAC systems that use natural refrigerants.
The LIFE project’s ultimate goal is that all new vehicles will be equipped with environmentally-friendly and efficient air conditioning systems within four years of the project’s completion.
13 November 2012 The small town of Rivignano in northeast Italy has been awarded the ‘Albanella d’Oro’ (Golden Circus) by the regional divison of WWF for the its implementation of a forested wetland recovery LIFE project, ‘S.T.A.R. – Stella Alnus Recovery’ (LIFE07 NAT/IT/000498).
The award is given to public bodies, associations, private firms and citizens who carry out effective initiatives that safeguard biodiversity and the environment. The municipality of Rivignano was the beneficiary of a project that aimed to conserve the priority habitat 91E0: Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae). The project has targeted more than 30 hectares of wet woodlands along the river Stella in the heart of an area threatened by intensive agricultural exploitation.
The project, which will end in December 2012, achieved several key results, including: the purchase of 33 ha of land that will be permanently dedicated to the conservation of nature; restoration of and new plantations on about 20 ha, and the creation of a forest nursery in which new plants native to the area will be produced for follow-up interventions. Moreover, about 3 000 of these young plants will be distributed for free to locals citizens in order to spread the species in the areas surrounding the project.
The award was presented to Mario Anzil, the major of Rivignano, and Massimo Tonizzo, the alderman for the environment, by Roberto Pizzutti, president of the regional section of WWF.
At the ceremony Roberto Pizzutti said: “It is much easier and more convenient [for a municipality in difficult economic times] to move towards intensive agriculture or urbanisation. It seemed to us that the municipality of Rivignano made a courageous choice that could be an example for many other public bodies… it will leave for future generations an environment that is much improved.”
For more information, visit the project website: www.starlifenatura.it
05 November 2012 Research conducted as part of a LIFE project has recently proved that the endangered weatherfish (Misgurnus fossilis) is not extinct in Denmark. In recent decades, populations of the fish species have declined sharply and only one now remains in the moor area of Sølsted Mose. The fish, however, hadn’t been reported since 2008 and was feared extinct.
Nevertheless, the LIFE project to restore the raised bog in Sølsted Mose (LIFE10 NAT/DK/000099) needed to take into consideration the possible presence of the weatherfish and the beneficiary, the municipality of Tønder, initiated a survey of the moor area.
The first method used, ‘electro fishing’, did not reveal the presence of the weatherfish. But the species spends much of its life in muddy streambeds – a possible explanation for the negative result – and so another method was tried.
In the summer of this year, shrimp traps were set up in the central brooks of the moor for several weeks. Several weatherfish were caught in these traps, proof of the relevance of improving their habitats. While such considerations complicate the bog restoration objective of the LIFE project, project manager Ole Ottosen remains optimistic about the chances of its success.
“In the border of the raised bog there will be plenty of space for creating new muddy brooks and eventually small ponds for the fish. For a long period these new habitats will be connected to the existing habitats, which will be lost only slowly, when the raised bog develops,” he said.
Hydrological restoration measures in Sølsted Mose are scheduled to begin in the summer of 2014 with the blocking of brooks and ditches.