LIFE invests in 122 new projects


The European Commission has announced the 96 environment projects and 26 climate action projects that will receive €197.35 million co-financing from the LIFE programme, the EU’s main funding instrument for the environment and climate action.

In November, the European Commission announced the projects it will be supporting under the LIFE programme from 2014 to 2020 for their contribution to a resource-efficient, sustainable and low-carbon future. They include 96 environment projects, to which the Commission will contribute €160.6 million, and 26 climate action projects, which will receive €36.75 million. This was the first LIFE call for proposals with a specific funding stream for climate action projects.

Money invested in environment projects is money well spent… We will follow these projects carefully, with a view to sharing and replicating their success.

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

“Money invested in environment projects is money well spent,” said EU Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella, announcing the decision. “We will follow these projects carefully, with a view to sharing and replicating their success.”

The environment projects will be implemented in 21 Member States, representing a total investment of €264.8 million. They cover actions in the field of resource efficiency, supporting the transition to a more circular and sustainable economy, but also nature and biodiversity, and environmental governance and information. The 96 projects were chosen from among 1117 applications.

The climate action projects will be implemented in 22 Member States, with a total investment of €73.9 million. Selected from a field of 189 applications, they will support climate mitigation, adaptation, and governance and information.

Below is a selection of the projects selected for LIFE support.

Environment projects

Recycling copper: Saving resources and reducing the environmental impact of copper mining are the combined goals of a Dutch project to improve the quantity of upcycled copper on the European market. It will use an innovative process to recover ‘bottom ash’ from waste-to-energy activities, with the aim of boosting copper-recovery rates from 40 % to 90 %. The project will treat 124 500 tonnes of bottom ash to produce 373.5 tonnes of copper.

Reducing fertiliser use: This French project aims to show that an innovative seed coating made from a naturally derived polymer can reduce the need for fertiliser application and cut down water consumption in farming. The coating promotes early root growth, enabling the plant to take up additional nutrients and water at a critical stage. It will be tested on 7000 tonnes of seeds, including corn, wheat and soy.

Nature-friendly dams: In search of a more nature-friendly approach to dam restoration than the usual reinforced concrete, this project will install sediment- and erosion-control measures using recycled organic material at two dams in Bavaria, southern Germany. It will then test their stability and safety, ecological potential and economic efficiency.

War on invasive wasps: A project to contain the spread of an invasive alien wasp species in Europe will develop a radar system to trace wasps flying back to their nests in two regions in Italy, so as to destroy wasp colonies and prevent further invasions. The Asian predatory wasp (Vespa velutina) is a significant threat to native bees, wasps and butterflies.

Return of the vultures: A project will relocate and release 48 vultures to prepared sites in Bulgaria, providing them with suitable habitat and food sources. Intended to restore populations of the Eurasian black vulture (Aegypius monachus) in the country, the project also aims to reduce the risks to the vultures from poisoning and getting tangled in electricity pylon wires.

Cleaning waste water of pharma residues: A project to test a means of removing pharmaceutical compounds from waste water will take place in two water-stressed regions in Portugal: Lisbon and Algarve. It will conduct a three-year trial using eco-friendly adsorbents from local vegetal wastes (carob and cork) and biopolymer coagulants, in activated sludge treatment plants to test the success and cost-efficiency of the process.

Restoring grasslands: A project in Slovenia will restore and protect two types of grassland – dry and Nardus (an important habitat for arctic-alpine plants and invertebrates) – working with landowners and other potential land users to reduce land-use fragmentation and improve grassland management.

Tackling the criminals: A UK network of environmental prosecutors will be established to improve information sharing on waste, wildlife and chemical crimes and boost capacity and consistency among prosecutors and judges to combat transnational environmental crimes.

Climate action projects

Low-carbon asphalt: A Spanish project will develop a new configuration for asphalt-mix manufacturing using biomass as an alternative fuel. This will demonstrate an entirely fossil-fuel-free production process and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 %. The asphalt mixes will be tested in a real-scale demonstration at a road construction site.

Restoring peatlands: A new tool to measure greenhouse gas emissions from managed peatlands in Latvia will enable decision-makers to optimise the impacts of peatland restoration on biodiversity, economic growth and climate mitigation. The project will also create an inventory and a database of degraded peatlands across the country.

Cooler roof tiles: A new design of two widely used types of roof tile, aimed at increasing air flow to promote cooling and ventilation, will be tested in real-scale buildings in different locations in the Mediterranean. The project aims to demonstrate that the tiles can help save up to 50 % of the energy required for cooling buildings and reduce cooling-related GHG emissions by 10 %.

Organisational footprint: A new network will develop a tool to calculate and reduce the carbon footprint of organisations, with participants from both the public and private sectors in Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary and Italy. The French project aims to support the implementation of public policies to incentivise the reduction of carbon emissions.

LIFE Programme

The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. Since it was set up in 1992, it has financed more than 4000 projects, mobilising €7.8 billion and contributing €3.4 billion to protecting the environment and the climate. The budget for LIFE for 2014-2020 is €3.4 billion, to be shared between environment and climate action projects.


Funding and LIFE