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Commission spends €270m on environment projects

The European Commission is giving nearly €270 million for 202 environmental projects under its LIFE+ programme.

With co-funding from member states and other partners, the projects will be worth a total of €516.5m. This spending supports actions in nature conservation, environmental policy, climate change, and information and communication activities on environmental issues.

LIFE is the EU’s funding pot for environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU and in neighbouring states. Established in 1992, the programme has co-financed some 3,500 projects, contributing approximately €2.5 billion to the protection of the environment The latest call closed in July 2011 received over 1,000 applications from all 27 member states.

Under the programme, funding is allocated in three areas. The Nature and Biodiversity element supports projects to improve the conservation status of endangered species or habitats. This received 268 proposals and the Commission will help fund 76 projects worth €242m in partnership with conservation organisations, local and national governments, and other bodies.

The Environment Policy and Governance component supports pilot projects that contribute to the development of policy ideas, technologies, methods and instruments. The Commission has agreed to help finance 113 of the 607 proposals received, which will costs a total of €258m. A major part of the environment policy funding, worth a total of €68m, will go to 23 projects to tackle climate change.

The Information and Communication component funds projects to disseminate information and raise the profile of environmental issues. It also pays for training and communication in areas such as the prevention of forest fires. The Commission selected 13 of the 203 projects submitted and will support projects in nine member states worth up to €16.2m.

Announcing details of the successful applicants, environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “These latest LIFE+ projects continue a trend, started two decades ago, for innovative and best-practice actions furthering nature conservation, improving the environment and tackling climate change.”