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Brussels, 5 September 2003

LIFE-Environment: 104 environmental innovation projects share EUR 69 million of Commission funding

The European Commission has selected 104 environmental innovation projects for funding by the European Commission under the LIFE-Environment scheme. The projects selected will be carried out by fourteen EU Member States (all except Luxembourg) and six candidate countries (Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia. These projects represent a total investment of around €216 million to which LIFE-Environment will provide €69 million. The projects selected apply cutting edge technology to solve environmental problems in several areas. This year, the waste management and integrated production policy sectors predominate in terms of the number of projects selected and the EU funding allocated. The projects will receive this financial support upon their compliance with the administrative and financial provisions.

Integrated production policy and managing waste take the lead

The 104 projects selected cover the following 5 areas: promoting the integration of environmental considerations into land-use development, planning and urban management; encouraging sustainable management of water resources; preventing, recycling and re-using waste; mitigating the environmental impact of economic activity; and promoting integrated production policy.

Integrated production policy is the theme of the largest proportion of projects selected (27 projects, EU contribution €17.4 million). However, the 25 projects dealing with waste management take the largest share of the funding (EU contribution €18.7 million, which represents 27% of the total). Under the integrated production policy theme, over half of the projects selected deal with integrated environment management, namely through the Eco-management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). Other projects focus on eco-design, green financial products and Eco-labelling, including a Danish project which will launch a European Flower Week Campaign on the EU Ecolabel. The 25 waste management projects selected focus on packaging and plastics, hazardous or problematic waste or waste important in volume.

Sustainable management of water resources also draws a significant share of the funding this year, with 20% of the funding allocated to 24 projects (EU contribution €13.7 million). Last year, it was the most popular sector in terms of the number of projects selected and the EU funding allocated. The projects cover waste water treatment, groundwater protection and river basin management.

17 projects co-financed to the tune of €11.9 million relate to the theme of minimising the impact of economic activities, which covers clean technologies and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, €7.5 million has been allocated to 11 projects which deal with the theme of promoting the integration of environmental considerations, whether in the urban environment, in coastal zone management, tourism or other areas of land-use development and planning. Under this same theme, 4 projects will tackle the specific problem of the quality of air and noise abatement.

EU funding of €69 million will cover approximately 32% of the project costs for 2003. The remaining €147 million will come from beneficiaries, partners and co-financiers. The average EU financial allocation per project amounts to €667,978.

Among the 104 projects selected this year, almost half of them will be managed by private bodies (48%), which includes small and medium-sized enterprises. Public authorities and institutions are also significantly present among the beneficiaries (40%), albeit 11% less than the number of projects handed in by public sector organisations last year. Finally, non-governmental organisations will manage 12% of the projects selected, which is double the number when compared to last year.

This year's selection process

In the 2003 selection round, the Commission received 532 applications (10% more than last year), of which 484 (91%) were considered eligible. The proposals were submitted by a wide range of public and private organisations from all of the Member States, with the exception of Luxembourg, and 6 candidate countries; Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, and for the first time, Slovakia.

The proposals went through a rigorous evaluation procedure and were ranked on merit by the Commission, assisted by a group of independent experts. The LIFE Committee, which is composed of Member States' representatives and observers from the candidate countries, unanimously gave a favourable opinion on the list of 104 selected projects proposed by the Commission.

The LIFE Programme

LIFE is the European Union's scheme which provides financial support for environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU, in candidate countries and in bordering regions. The general objective of LIFE is through the financing of specific actions to contribute to the development and implementation of EU environmental policy. LIFE has 3 distinct components: LIFE-Environment, LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Third countries. The LIFE-Environment component co-finances innovative solutions to environmental problems. The key features of LIFE-Environment projects are: Innovation, transferability and demonstration. A budget of €640 million is available for the current LIFE programme, which runs until 2004. Just under half of the total LIFE budget is available for LIFE-Environment projects(1).

For summaries of the projects in each country, see Annex. More detailed information on each of the 104 new projects, is available on the LIFE projects database at :


LIFE-Environment 2003 projects by country


Number of projects funded: 2

One project will be managed by a non-governmental organisation in Vienna and the other by a private company in Lower Austria. The projects deal with the treatment of wastewater and clean technologies.


Number of projects funded: 4

Three out of the four projects will be managed by private structures, and the remaining one by a public authority. Water management is the main environmental sector addressed by the approved projects (one project relates to ground water protection and the other to wastewater treatment). One project deals with waste management (packaging and plastics sector), and the other one with integrated production policy (eco-design, eco-efficiency, green financial products). From a geographical point of view, the approved projects cover the three Belgian regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels-Capital.


Number of projects funded: 3

The projects will all be managed on a co-operation model involving public authorities (including state, regional and local level) and private companies. Two of the projects deal with the treatment of wastewater: Whereas one will develop cost-efficient methods for the treatment of storm-waters, the other will develop an innovative method for the treatment of endocrine disrupters in wastewater. Both projects will thereby assist in implementing the Water Framework Directive. The third project, which will launch a European flower week campaign on the EU eco-label, will involve national authorities, private companies and non-governmental organisations in nine member countries.


Number of projects funded: 1

The project will introduce life cycle assessment methodology in Estonia by examining the impact of electricity generation from oil-rich sedimentary rock on the environmental performance of products. The beneficiary is the largest producer of power in Estonian : Eesti Energia. The project envisages international co-operation with an Environmental institute in Finland and private research organisations.


Number of projects funded: 2

One of the projects was handed in by a private company and the other one by a public institution.

Water management, and more specifically ground water protection and wastewater treatment at a municipal level, is the subject matter of one of the projects, whereas the other one will tackle packaging and waste and will be implemented in a European wide context.


Number of projects funded: 4

These projects cover different environmental sectors. Two projects deal with waste management, whereas the other two focus on wastewater treatment and integrated environmental management respectively. Two of them were presented by private companies, one by a local authority and the last one by a non-governmental organisation. With regard to the geographical distribution of the projects, two projects from the South were approved, one from the East and the last one is located in the vicinity of Paris.


Number of projects funded: 7

Geographically the projects are located in six regions: two projects will be managed in Berlin and one in each of the following regions: Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg, Saarland, Bavaria, Northrhine Westfalia. Four of the German projects were handed in by private companies, and the other three by a non-governmental organisation, public institution and public authority each. Clean technologies is the main sector addressed by the German projects, with four of the seven projects covering this area. Two projects will tackle wastewater problems, and one project will focus on the integrated eco-management of European churches by means of the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).


Number of projects funded: 8

Half of the projects will be managed by public institutions, two by non-governmental organisations and one each by a public authority and a private structure. There is no overriding thematic tendency in the Greek projects selected as they address all the environmental sectors covered by the LIFE-Environment programme. Three projects deal with waste management (two for waste important in volume, and one for hazardous or problematic waste), one project covers water management (ground water protection), two will focus on the impact of economic activities (namely clean technologies, and the reduction of emission of gases having a greenhouse effect), and the last two will concentrate on the area of integrated production policy (eco-labelling, and the greening of procurements by local authorities).


Number of projects funded: 4

These projects will be managed by a diversity of structures: one private structure, one non-governmental organisation, one public institution and one public authority. The environmental sectors addressed by the projects cover water management (at the scale of the river basin, and the rehabilitation of a flood plain), impact of economic activities (sustainable tourism) and waste management (hazardous or problematic waste).


Number of projects funded: 1

The project, proposed by a private enterprise based in County Monaghan, will take an innovative approach to the processing of animal slurry.


Number of projects funded: 14

Half of the projects were submitted by public institutions (such as universities or local administrations), while the other half were presented by private bodies or non-governmental organisations. With four projects, waste management is the main environmental sector addressed. Three projects focus on the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), while two projects have been approved for each of the following three sectors: eco-labelling, clean technologies and land-use planning sectors. Finally, one proposal which deals with the impact of economic activities was also approved. The geographical location of the applicants confirms once again the important presence of Emilia-Romagna in LIFE-Environment, with four projects located in that region; two projects were approved in Lombardia and Campania, while one project was approved for each of the following regions: Tuscany, Liguria, Veneto, Lazio, Sardinia and Apulia.


Number of projects funded: 1

The project will demonstrate an innovative method for composting biodegradable municipal waste. The beneficiary is the national Waste Management Association and the project will be carried out in partnership with several local authorities and the University of Latvia.


No projects were submitted this year.


Number of projects funded: 12

All of the projects will be managed by private structures, with the exception of one which will be run by a public authority. The projects concentrate on two environmental sectors in particular: Seven projects deal with the impact of economic activities (three for clean technologies, three for the reduction of the emission of gases having a greenhouse effect, and one for sustainable tourism); and five projects focus on water management (three for wastewater treatment, one for ground water protection and one on filtering urban water).


Number of projects funded: 6

Two of the projects were submitted by local administrations and the other four by universities and research centres. Integrated environmental management (EMAS etc.) is the most popular sector for Portuguese projects this year (three of the six projects), the other projects will tackle clean technologies, water and waste management. Three of the projects are located in or near Lisbon, one is in Porto, one in the central region and another in the south of the country.


Number of projects funded: 1

The project selected in Romania concerns water management at the scale of the river basin and will be managed by a public institution.


Number of projects funded: 1

This year, for the first time, Slovakia proposed projects and one of these has been approved for funding. It deals with the reduction of the emission of gases having a greenhouse effect, and was presented by a non-governmental organisation.


Number of projects funded: 2

Both the private and the public sector are represented this year: One proposal, focusing on energy savings in the central heating sector, was submitted by the private company “Globalvision” of Ljubljana. The other one will investigate an innovative methodology for the sustainable rehabilitation of a landfill site, was submitted by the Municipality of Ormoz.


Number of projects funded: 15

Eight of the beneficiaries are private companies and non-governmental organisations, while the others are public administrations. Waste and water management is the most popular sector for the Spanish projects selected this year. Other issues addressed are clean technologies, coastal and urban environment. Most of the projects are located along the Mediterranean.

One project has also been approved in each of the following regions: La Rioja, Castilla y León, Andalucía, Extremadura and Galicia.


Number of projects funded: 8

The main emphasis is placed on the development of different waste and effluent treatment methods. Successful projects are evenly distributed between the sectors of clean technologies, waste and water management two projects in each sector. Clean technologies will be developed and demonstrated in the areas of thermal seed treatment as opposed to chemical treatment and innovative rest product treatment in the meat industry. Waste water management will be further developed in the tanning industry sector, while two new innovative methods will be tested to prevent waste production and to recover used oil filters. Other less common project areas are covered by projects aimed at noise abatement in the collection of waste and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive in forests. Several large construction companies have joined their forces to facilitate the gradual elimination of very dangerous substances from the construction sector. The Swedish National Forestry Board, will this year start work on two new projects: wood ash recycling and the demonstration of opportunities on forest land to support the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. In this work they will continue their well-established international co-operation with respective French forestry authorities.

United Kingdom

Number of projects funded: 8

Half of the successful applicants are public authorities and universities, the other half being private sector organisations. Waste management is the most popular sector for UK projects in 2003 and several of the projects will demonstrate innovative approaches in this area. Other sectors that have attracted funding this year include the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), urban environmental planning, the prevention of agricultural water pollution and the development of coastal zone management strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change.

(1)47% of the fund is available for each of the LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Environment programs and 6% for the LIFE-Third Countries program

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