The European Commission has approved an investment package of €243 million from the EU budget for projects under the LIFE programme supporting nature, the environment and quality of life in Europe’s transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future. The EU funding under the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action will mobilise additional investments leading to a total of €430.7 million going towards 142 new projects. With numerous trans-national projects funded, LIFE will have an impact in every EU Member State.
LIFE programmes in Ireland in 2017 (2 projects – 4.0 million)
1. Making it easier to monitor water quality (LIFE EcoSens Aquamonitrix)
Improving the condition of Europe’s water bodies is taking longer than foreseen. Faster, cheaper and more comprehensive monitoring technology could speed up this process. LIFE EcoSens Aquamonitrix will bring a near-continuous water quality monitoring solution to market, one that can cost-effectively meet the EU Water Framework Directive’s requirements for frequent monitoring of water quality. Prototypes of the portable system will be manufactured and tested in 11 operational environments. Results will be used to draft a business plan to ensure market penetration. When brought to market, this affordable technology will result in more monitoring being undertaken, simplify water management decision-making and make it easier to comply with regulations.
2. Minimising misconnections in the urban water network (Dublin Urban Rivers LIFE)
Misconnections occur when toilets, sinks, washing machines or dishwashers are incorrectly linked to drains and channels designed to receive rainwater. Some 3-4% of household wastewater ends up in the surface drainage system rather than sewers, with negative impacts on water quality. Dublin Urban Rivers LIFE will use mapping technology to make it quicker and cheaper to carry out domestic misconnection inspections. Data from 12 000 inspections in the Dublin area will be used to develop a decision-support tool for water managers, project developers and policymakers in towns and cities. The project will also construct artificial wetlands to improve water quality, boost public wellbeing and alleviate flood risk at five strategic locations.
Further country project descriptions and more details can be found in the Annex.
Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “The LIFE programme continues to invest in projects that improve our quality of life, our environment and nature. It helps many talented Europeans to find solutions to some of today’s greatest environmental concerns – air pollution, water scarcity, plastic waste, biodiversity and resource loss. And it continues to deliver value for money.”
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said: “These innovative projects show the added value of European cooperation. In developing and sharing the best ways to reduce emissions and increase resilience to climate change they support implementation of the 2030 climate and energy framework across the EU.”
Tackling the biggest challenges
Funds of €196.2 million will go to projects in the field of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity, and environmental governance and information.
This includes major investments in projects that will enable more plastic to be reused. Turning this waste into high-quality raw materials for the car, construction and packaging industries is just one way in which LIFE gives practical support to achieving the goals of the European Commission’s European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy.
LIFEremains at the forefront of efforts to increase awareness of the valuable ecosystem services that nature provides and to conserve endangered habitats and species. From reducing conflicts between people and wildlife in Greece, Italy, Romania and Spain, to promoting sustainable agricultural practices in Italy, Malta and Spain, the many LIFE nature project will help to implement the EU Action Plan for Nature.
In the area of climate action, the EU will invest €46.8 million to support climate change mitigation, adaptation and governance and information projects. This includes practical support for Member States drafting their 2030 national climate and energy plans that will help them collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. LIFE funding will also help farming and forestry adapt to climate change and improve communities’ resilience to extreme weather events, from floods and heatwaves to water shortages.
- 55 LIFE environment & resource efficiency projects will mobilise €163.5 million, of which the EU will provide €82.4 million. These projects cover actions in five thematic areas: air, environment and health, resource efficiency, waste, and water. The 20 resource efficiency projects alone will mobilise €43.8 million to help in Europe’s transition to a more circular economy, a 15% increase on last year. Some €14.9 million will help improve air quality in Europe.
- 40 LIFE nature & biodiversity projects support the implementation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. They have a total budget of €153 million, of which the EU will contribute €97.5 million.
- 15 LIFE environmental governance and information projects will raise awareness on environmental matters. They have a total budget of €27.2 million, of which the EU will contribute €16.2 million.
- 11 LIFE climate change mitigation projects have a total budget of €33.7 million, of which the EU will contribute €18.6 million. These action grants are awarded to best practice, pilot and demonstration projects in three thematic areas: industry, greenhouse gas accounting/reporting, and land use, forestry and agriculture.
- 17 LIFE climate change adaptation projects will mobilise €44.2 million, of which the EU will provide €22.9 million. These action grants are awarded to projects in six thematic areas: ecosystem-based adaptation, health and wellbeing, mountain/island areas adaptation focusing on the agriculture sector, urban adaptation/planning, vulnerability assessments/adaptation strategies, and water (including flood management, coastal areas and desertification).
- 4 LIFE climate governance and information projects will improve governance and raise awareness of climate change. They have a total budget of €9.1 million, of which the EU will contribute €5.2 million.
Background on LIFE Programme
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It has been running since 1992 and has co-financed more than 4 600 projects across the EU and in third countries, mobilising nearly €10 billion and contributing over €4.2 billion to the protection of the environment and climate. At any given moment some 1 100 projects are in progress. The budget for 2014–2020 is set at €3.4 billion in current prices and covers a sub-programme for environment and a sub-programme for climate action. For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing to increase funding by almost 60% for LIFE.
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