LIFE programme invests €121m into environment, nature, and climate action projects

The European Commission has announced an investment of €121m for new integrated projects under the LIFE programme, in order to protect the natural environment and help communities adapt to climate change.

The LIFE programme will promote the green recovery and help Belgium, Germany, Ireland, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Slovakia to reach their green targets. These integrated projects are expected to channel significant additional funds, helping Member States to make use of other EU funding sources, including agricultural, structural, regional, and research funds, as well as national funds and private sector investment.

Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said: “To deliver the European Green Deal, we need to start mobilising the unprecedented resources made available for Europe’s green transition in our long-term budget and recovery fund. These LIFE integrated projects support concrete action to protect the environment, restore nature, and support biodiversity. With this investment we help countries and regions to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises and build a just and sustainable future.”

The six areas of focus for the projects

New and increased LIFE funding will support 12 large-scale environment and climate projects in 11 Member States. These integrated projects will improve citizens’ quality of life by helping Member States comply with EU legislation in six areas: nature, water, air, waste, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation.

Five nature projects in Latvia, Slovakia, Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany will help to restore natural ecosystems, in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, by improving the management of the Natura 2000 network and better connecting its protected areas.

In support of the EU Water Framework Directive, a project in France will introduce measures to improve water quality in the Pays de la Loire region. Another project will help to clean up Poland’s Pilica river catchment area through blue and green infrastructure pilot actions and other initiatives.

To meet the LIFE programme’s waste management goals, a Belgian project will reduce plastic waste by encouraging sustainability, from increased product lifetimes to prevention, reuse and recycling of waste.

In order to mitigate climate change, a project will help reduce Hungary’s reliance on brown coal. LIFE funding will help authorities to gradually decarbonise the Mátra Power Plant, by replacing lignite-fired power generation units with low-carbon technology solutions. LIFE will also help the Małopolska region in Poland to implement its Regional Action Plan for Climate and Energy to guarantee a just transition. A project in Ireland will restore around 10,000 hectares of peatlands which have high carbon storage potential – an area roughly the size of Dublin.

To help the region become better adapted to climate change, LIFE funding will also help Portugal’s Azores islands become more resilient to climate change, under its climate change adaption programme.

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