Commission funds over 200 environment projects worth EUR160 million

The European Commission has approved funding for over 200 projects worth €160 million under the LIFE programme 2004. LIFE is the EU's financial instrument for supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU, in candidate countries and some neighbouring regions.

Funding was approved for 109 environmental innovation projects applying ground breaking technologies to tackle environmental problems, for 77 nature conservation projects, and 20 environment projects under the LIFE Third Countries programme.

Of the environmental innovation section, integrated product policy takes the lead with 29 projects. Out of those, 18 projects target integrated environmental management audit systems such as EMAS, while the remaining projects deal with eco-design, eco-efficiency, eco-labelling and green financial products.

Another 24 projects seek to mitigate the environmental impact of economic activities, covering clean technologies and reduction of greenhouse gases. A further 22 projects focus on integrated considerations, and sustainable management of water resources follows with 20 projects covering river basin management, groundwater protection, wastewater treatment and diffuse and dispersed sources of pollution. Eighteen projects received funding for prevention, recycling and sound management of waste, dealing with packaging and plastics, hazardous and problematic waste, waste important in volume and management of waste streams.

Seventy seven nature conservation projects were chosen, seventy five of which will be carried out in EU Member States and two in Romania. The most common project activities deal with the development and implementation of management plans, management of water courses, land purchase and site restoration and improvement.

In addition, twenty projects have been chosen for funding under the Third Countries programme. These will share funding towards improving the environment and achieving sustainable development in the Mediterranean and Baltic regions. Each of the selected 20 projects have capacity building and the establishment of administrative structures as their main objective, and cover a range of themes from waste management and clean technology, to nature and bio-diversity conservation.

The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the development and implementation of EU environmental policy by financing specific actions. Since 1992, some 2,400 projects have received funding under the LIFE programme, representing an EU contribution of €1.4 billion .

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