The European Commission recently awarded almost €300 million in LIFE funding to 132 new projects. The projects, which are taking place in almost all EU member states, are those approved during the ‘old’ LIFE 2020 application round. The ‘new’ LIFE Programme 2021-2027 has already started. EGEN (part of the PNO Group) has specialised knowledge of the LIFE-scheme from the application process to compliance with all the related grant rules in order to achieve an optimal return.
What is the new LIFE programme?
LIFE is the most important European grant programme in the field of the environment and climate. In July this year, the first call for proposals for the new LIFE multi-annual programme for the period 2021-2027 started with a funding budget of almost €5.5 billion.
The new LIFE multi-annual programme consists of two main programmes and four separate sub-programmes. These are:
- Nature and Biodiversity
- Circular economy and quality of life
- Climate adaptation and mitigation
- Clean energy transition.
The LIFE programme target group
The LIFE Programme is in principle open to companies, knowledge institutions, government organisations and NGOs working on environmental and climate innovations in the EU. However, the bar is set fairly high: small innovations or ordinary environmental investments fall outside the scope of the LIFE Programme. Opportunities exist only for innovative projects with significant positive environmental impacts (at least at the European level) that can be replicated at other places within Europe. These are usually multi-annual innovation projects based on pilot projects, demonstration projects and best practices. And again, although in principle a LIFE application can be submitted by one party, successful LIFE projects are often implemented by consortia involving several European partners.
132 approved projects
For the LIFE 2020 application round, the European Commission has approved 132 projects worth almost €300 million. The Commission is investing around €223 million in projects in the areas of environment and resource efficiency, nature and biodiversity, and environmental governance and communication. It is also investing over €70 million in projects working on climate change adaptation and mitigation and climate change governance and information.
The breakdown by type and number of projects approved is as follows:
|Type project||Aantal goedgekeurd|
|Nature and Biodiversity||39|
|Environment and resource efficiency||45|
|Environmental governance and information||8|
|Mitigating climate change||17|
|Adapting to climate change||17|
|Climate governance and information||6|
LIFE project Attero
EGEN has specialised knowledge of the LIFE-scheme from the application process to compliance with all the related grant rules in order to achieve an optimal return. With EGEN’s help, waste processing company Attero successfully applied for a LIFE grant. The company has invested over 30 million euros in a Polymer Recycling Plant in Wijster (Drenthe) which shreds and cleans plastic waste, using the residual heat from Attero’s waste-to-energy plant. The granules produced by this process are of such a high quality that they can be used for new foil applications.
Looking ahead to LIFE in 2022
Exactly what the LIFE grant will bring in 2022 is difficult to say at this time.
However, according to the latest information from the Commission, the submission of Standard Action Projects (SAP), the ‘traditional projects’, will continue to follow a one-stage procedure in 2022. In other words, applicants must submit a complete application in one instance. Preparing such an application requires careful preparation. The deadline is not yet known, but based on previous experience, it could be in September.