UK river basin management project gets EC LIFE funding
A UK project aimed at integrating water management approaches to deliver the North West England River Basin Management Plan is among the first-ever Integrated Projects to receive funding from the EC under the LIFE programme for the environment.
The EC is investing €63.8M for the six Integrated Projects, introduced to implement environmental legislation on a wider scale and increase the impact of funding for plans developed on the regional, multi-regional or national level.
The Integrated Projects in Germany and the UK will contribute to the implementation of River Basin Management Plans, while a project in Poland supports implementation of a regional Air Quality Plan. These three projects have a combined budget of €52.4M, of which €30.4M is EU-funded, and could facilitate the coordinated use of more than €1bn of complementary funding.
The UK project will address barriers holding back the achievement of “good” ecological status for the region’s water bodies, as required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The project aims to build stakeholder capacity, reduce policy conflicts, identify water and flood management measures that produce multiple benefits - thus allowing greater use of relevant funds – and improve knowledge of innovative measures such as sustainable drainage systems.
LIFE Integrated Projects in Belgium, Finland and Italy, will help conserve Europe's nature, on a far wider scale than has previously been the case. The Nature projects have a combined budget of €56.3M, of which €33.3M is EU-funded. The projects can facilitate the coordinated use of €393M of complementary funding, such as for infrastructure through other available EU funds, in the management of environmentally protected Natura 2000 sites.
The six projects selected have a total budget of €108.7M, including €63.8M of EU co-financing. They could leverage and coordinate €1bn-plus in complementary funding from EU agricultural and regional funds, as well as national and private funds.
The main feature of the six projects is their all-encompassing approach, ensuring involvement of multiple stakeholders and promoting the mobilisation of at least one other funding source, be it EU, national or private. LIFE Integrated Projects were introduced to help member states comply with key EU legislation in four areas: Nature, Water, Air and Waste.
Karmenu Vella, EU commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “This is an example of Europe directly investing in citizens' quality of life. To best tackle major environmental and health challenges such as air and water pollution or biodiversity loss, existing policies must be made to work towards the same goals. Integrated Projects deliver precisely that."
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