Programma LIFE, 30 i progetti italiani approvati
Nuovi progetti che proteggono la natura, l'ambiente e la qualità della vita
La Commissione europea ha approvato un pacchetto di investimenti di 243 milioni di EUR del bilancio UE in progetti del programma LIFE che, nella transizione dell’Europa a un futuro più sostenibile e a basse emissioni di carbonio, proteggono la natura, l’ambiente e la qualità della vita.
Il finanziamento dell’UE a titolo del programma LIFE a favore dell’ambiente e dell’azione per il clima mobiliterà ulteriori investimenti, per un totale di 430,7 milioni di euro ripartiti su 142 nuovi progetti. Poiché molti dei progetti finanziati sono transnazionali, LIFE avrà un’incidenza in ogni Stato membro dell’UE.
Un finanziamento di 196,2 milioni di EUR sarà destinato a progetti riguardanti tre ambiti: ambiente e uso efficiente delle risorse, natura e biodiversità, governance e informazione in materia di ambiente.
Una grossa fetta di questo importo finanzierà progetti che consentiranno di riutilizzare maggiori quantità di plastica: trasformare questo tipo di rifiuti in materie prime di qualità per l’industria automobilistica, l’edilizia e il settore dell’imballaggio è solo uno dei modi in cui il programma LIFE concorre a realizzare nella pratica gli obiettivi indicati dalla Commissione europea nella strategia europea per la plastica nell’economia circolare.
LIFE continua a essere una delle iniziative di punta per accrescere la consapevolezza del valore dei servizi ecosistemici che la natura ci offre e per conservare gli habitat e le specie minacciate. Dalla riduzione dei conflitti tra l’uomo e la fauna in Grecia, Italia, Romania e Spagna alla promozione di pratiche agricole sostenibili in Italia, Malta e Spagna, i molti progetti LIFE per la conservazione della natura contribuiranno ad attuare il piano d’azione dell’UE per la natura.
Sul fronte del clima, l’UE investirà 46,8 milioni di EUR per sostenere progetti mirati alla mitigazione dei cambiamenti climatici, all’adattamento, alla governance e all’informazione. Una parte di questi investimenti andrà a sostenere la stesura dei piani nazionali 2030 per il clima e l’energia, che aiuteranno gli Stati membri a ridurre collettivamente le emissioni di gas serra almeno del 40% entro il 2030 rispetto ai livelli del 1990.
I fondi LIFE aiuteranno anche ad adattare l’agricoltura e la silvicoltura ai cambiamenti climatici e a migliorare la resilienza delle comunità nei confronti di fenomeni meteorologici estremi, come alluvioni, ondate di calore e penuria d’acqua.
I 55 progetti LIFE della componente Ambiente e uso efficiente delle risorse mobiliteranno 163,5 milioni di EUR, di cui 82,4 milioni forniti dall’UE, e riguarderanno azioni in cinque aree tematiche: aria, ambiente e salute, uso efficiente delle risorse, rifiuti e acqua.
Per agevolare la transizione verso un’economia più circolare in Europa, i 20 progetti sull’uso efficiente delle risorse mobiliteranno da soli 43,8 milioni di EUR, con un incremento del 15% rispetto allo scorso anno. Circa 14,9 milioni di EUR saranno destinati a migliorare la qualità dell’aria.
I 40 progetti LIFE della componente Natura e biodiversità sostengono l’attuazione delle direttive Habitat e Uccelli e la strategia dell’UE in materia di biodiversità fino al 2020. La dotazione di bilancio complessiva di questi progetti è di 153 milioni di EUR, a cui l’UE contribuirà per 97,5 milioni.
Con una dotazione di bilancio complessiva di 27,2 milioni di EUR, di cui il contributo UE ammonta a 16,2 milioni, i 15 progetti LIFE della componente Governance e informazione in materia di ambiente sensibilizzeranno alle questioni ambientali.
La dotazione complessiva degli 11 progetti LIFE della componente Mitigazione dei cambiamenti climatici è pari a 33,7 milioni di EUR, di cui 18,6 milioni provenienti dall’UE. Queste sovvenzioni sono concesse a progetti di migliori pratiche, progetti pilota e progetti dimostrativi in tre settori tematici: industria, contabilizzazione/comunicazione delle emissioni di gas serra, e uso del suolo/silvicoltura/agricoltura.
I 17 progetti LIFE della componente Adattamento ai cambiamenti climatici mobiliteranno 44,2 milioni di EUR, di cui 22,9 milioni erogati dall’UE. Queste sovvenzioni sono concesse a progetti relativi a sei aree tematiche: adattamento basato sugli ecosistemi, salute e benessere, adattamento delle zone montagnose/insulari incentrato sul settore agricolo, adattamento/pianificazione urbana, valutazione della vulnerabilità/strategie di adattamento, e acqua (in cui sono comprese la gestione delle inondazioni, le zone costiere e la desertificazione).
I 4 progetti LIFE della componente Governance e informazione in materia di clima miglioreranno la governance e sensibilizzeranno ai cambiamenti climatici. La dotazione di bilancio complessiva è di 9,1 milioni di EUR, a cui l’UE contribuirà per 5,2 milioni.
Qui di seguito si riportano 30 progetti italiani approvati (il cui valore complessivo ammonta a 73.5 millioni di euro).
LIFE Nature & Biodiversity (7 projects – 17.7 million)
- Road safety for large carnivores (LIFE SAFE-CROSSING)
Large carnivores are severely threatened by road infrastructure, due to direct mortality caused by vehicle collisions and the barrier effect restricting the movement of populations. LIFE SAFE-CROSSING will demonstrate animal-vehicle collision prevention systems in Greece, Italy, Romania and Spain. These are designed to significantly reduce the road mortality of brown bears, lynx and wolves. An awareness campaign will encourage drivers to look out for large carnivores and reduce their speed. Improved road-crossing structures will enhance the connectivity of populations within nature conservation areas in the four countries.
- Participatory agroforestry in north-east Italy (LIFE PALU QdP)
Forestation, land abandonment and intensive agriculture are destroying the characteristic small meadows and hedges of Palù del Quartier del Piave in the Veneto region. LIFE PALU QdP will address these pressures through sustainable agroforestry and traditional meadow management practices, supported by local landowners. It will also re-connect water flows in the area’s extensive canal network. The project targets protected amphibian, reptile, butterfly and plant species, and two meadow habitats listed in the EU Habitats Directive.
- Maintaining the integrity of freshwater trout populations (LIFE Nat.Sal.Mo)
The freshwater trout Salmo trutta macrostigma is threatened by hybridisation with introduced Atlantic brown trout (Salmo trutta) in the river basins of Molise in southern Italy. This project is acting to recover the genetic integrity of the native freshwater trout. To do so, it will improve river connectivity and the available spawning area, optimise protocols for semen storage to ensure high genetic variability during artificial breeding. The project will also update fishing regulations to reduce Atlantic brown trout numbers, and establish participatory tools to make rivers better managed. The methods will be replicated in Romania and two other EU countries, with different fish species.
- Expanding the range of the lesser kestrel (LIFE FALKON)
The breeding range of the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) in the central-eastern Mediterranean area is shifting northwards due to climate change. LIFE FALKON is fostering resilience by improving the conservation status of the population at the north-eastern edge of its breeding range in Italy and Greece. The project will provide increased nesting opportunities, including nest boxes and towers, promote favourable rural development and building renovation practices, and establish a network of conservationists focused on populations crucial for the species’ northward breeding expansion.
- Taking endangered orchid communities off the critical list (LIFEorchids)
Orchid-rich semi-natural grasslands are among the most threatened plant communities in Europe, due to their inherent sensitivity to land use changes. LIFEorchids is expanding the area of this beautiful but fragile habitat in two Regional Parks in north-western Italy (Portofino in Liguria, and Po and Orba in Piedmont). This will be achieved by reinforcing and reintroducing orchid species, shrub and tree clearance, eliminating invasive alien species, and implementing land stewardship agreements. LIFEorchids will also establish orchid micro-reserves, and produce new propagation and translocation protocols. The methods will be replicated in the Czech Republic. Training courses and awareness-raising activities will take place in both countries.
- Saving Mediterranean Forests from a beetle invasion (LIFE SAMFIX)
The first severe European outbreak of Asian ambrosia beetle (Xylosandrus) in natural habitats occurred in Circeo National Park in Italy. Two species of the beetle were discovered, along with their associated symbiotic fungi, attacking trees and shrubs and degrading habitats in conservation areas. To prevent the spread of this invasive non-native insect, LIFE SAMFIX will practice selective eradication, establish early warning and rapid response systems, make forestry professionals and park visitors aware of the beetle, and do citizen science. Methods will be replicated in other Italian nature reserves susceptible to this beetle invasion.
- Protecting biodiversity in abandoned agricultural areas (LIFE GREENCHANGE)
LIFE GREENCHANGE is protecting biodiversity and enhance agro-ecosystems in Agro Pontino in Italy and in rural areas of Malta. The project addresses problems arising from the fragmentation and abandonment of agricultural land in both countries, by establishing green infrastructure that makes ecosystems function properly and providing corridors for species linked to agricultural areas. This means restoring wind breaks, canals, traditional stone walls, and buffer strips in fields, through the active participation of farmers who will receive targeted agro-environmental payments promoted by the project.
LIFE Environment & Resource Efficiency (7 projects – 17.0 million)
- Making paints without petrochemicals (LIFE-BIOPAINT)
Harmful petrochemical derivatives are still widely used in the manufacture of paints and coatings. LIFE-BIOPAINT is going to demonstrate a safe, sustainable and innovative continuous process for producing novel bio-based paints manufactured without petrochemicals at a site in Parona, Lombardy. This will avoid emissions of volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gases, eliminate waste, reduce energy consumption and deliver improvements in product quality in the wood coating sector. The project will also prove that the new closed-loop process is ready to be scaled up to commercial levels of production.
- Cultivating green and healthy products with olive oil wastewater (MEWLIFE)
MEWLIFE seeks to turn waste vegetation waters generated during olive oil production into a resource. It will pilot the use of pre-concentrated wastewaters as a carbon source for growing microalgae by means of a cultivation system that integrates two techniques: phototrophic cultivation (obtaining energy from sunlight) and heterotrophic cultivation (using organic molecules for nutrition). It is hoped that this will cut the cost of large-scale microalgae cultivation. The dried microalgal biomass will be assessed to see whether it can be used in nutraceuticals (products derived from food sources that can provide extra health benefits) or to produce bio-plastics. Substituting microalgae for crops currently used to make biopolymers could have positive effects on food security.
- Electric car-sharing for smaller cities (I-SharE LIFE)
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants from road transport, I-SharE LIFE is tailoring car-sharing services to smaller cities. As part of these efforts, Ferrovie Nord Milano, one of Italy’s largest railway operators, is taking car-sharing models that have worked well in bustling metropolises and adapting them to Bergamo, Como, Bollate, Busto Arsizio in Italy and Osijek in Croatia – all cities with fewer than 120 000 inhabitants. Their strategy includes boosting market uptake with information campaigns tailored to potential new participants. Results will be shared with an additional 34 communities across northern Italy and western Croatia in view of cutting air pollution, traffic noise and congestion across Europe.
- Growing plants with dredged sediment (LIFE AGRISED)
Millions of tonnes of sediment are dredged each year in the EU to counter floods and keep waterways navigable. A supplier for plant nurseries in Pistoia, Italy, is using sediment dredged from European rivers and seas to grow ornamental plants and rehabilitate degraded land for agriculture. The LIFE AGRISED project is notably rolling out a chemical process pioneered in an earlier LIFE project (New Life) to incorporate sediment into new fertile soils. Results will feed into an economic evaluation and guidelines for policymakers to facilitate the market entry of these sediment-based products for growing plants.
- Using poultry manure to improve soil quality (LIFE POREM)
Soils in arid and semi-arid areas are subject to intense degradation. The loss of organic matter reduces biological activity and fertility. This leads to soil erosion in farming areas, marginalisation and abandonment of agricultural land, and soil sealing. LIFE POREM is testing the use of treated manure from poultry farms as a bioactivator to improve soil fertility and plant yield and reduce ammonia emissions. As well as assessing results from experimental plots in southern Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic, it will produce a guide to soil restoration using poultry manure aimed at public administrations responsible for the health of our soils.
- Turning dredged sediment into a substitute for peat moss (LIFE SUBSED)
To stop the degradation of European peatlands, horticulturists in Italy are substituting peat moss used in plant nurseries with sediments dredged from ports. At present, peat moss is the main ingredient in the growing medium that feeds potted plants and trees. Demand for it is steadily increasing, and growers see previously-tested substitutes as ineffective. The LIFE SUBSED project will prove that high-quality food and plants can be grown in nurseries using dredged sediment and is investigating the business case for its wider adoption. This environmentally sustainable alternative to peat moss could reduce the impact of horticulture on natural habitats, and cut carbon dioxide emissions released when harvesting it.
- Putting wine waste back into the land (LIFE ZEOWINE)
Italian scientists are developing a natural soil additive to preserve the quality of agricultural land. The product contains organic waste from wine production and microporous minerals known as zeolites. As part of the ZEOWINE project, the Institute of Ecosystem Study in Pisa, Italy, is helping organic and biodynamic vineyards produce the additive and apply it to their fields in efforts to loosen soil structure, improve water retention, add organic matter and foster subsurface microbial life. The results are expected to boost yields and improve the quality of grapes, while producing the additive could save winemakers energy by recycling organic waste locally.
LIFE Environmental Governance & Information (6 projects – 11.6 million)
- Using data to evaluate the impact of chemical substances (LIFE CONCERT REACH)
REACH is an EU Regulation designed to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. Since May 2018, a large amount of REACH experimental data has become available. LIFE CONCERT REACH aims to make use of this resource to create reliable environmental indicators to better assess the impact of substances. In particular, the project will set up a network of systems that integrates data on registered chemicals with computer processing (in-silico) tools, applying innovative non-testing methods. It will also produce case studies on chemical substances that will be of practical use to industry.
- Promoting sustainable use of Mediterranean soil resources (SOIL4LIFE)
Soil is a limited resource, essential for our wellbeing and important ecosystem functions. However, the importance of soil is not widely appreciated. SOIL4LIFE will apply the FAO’s voluntary guidelines for sustainable soil management in a Mediterranean context (Italy, France, Croatia) and seeks to persuade around 5 000 farmers to adopt these guidelines. It will also promote the importance of sustainable and efficient use of soil to the general public through a media campaign reaching 2 million people. European institutions and Member States will be informed of the need to adopt appropriate regulations, and promote a reduction of land use in urban planning.
- Exchanging good practice in Natura 2000 forests (GoProFOR LIFE)
Hundreds of LIFE projects have dealt with forest quality and biodiversity, but more could be done to exchange project experiences and results. The GoProFOR LIFE project will support the exchange of forestry good practices and skills development for managers of nature conservation areas. This will involve the creation of a database of good forest management practice in Natura 2000 network sites for the EU’s 20 000 forest technicians. Italy’s National Rural Network is expected to adopt the project’s guidelines. Increased awareness of best practice will have a positive impact on the conservation of habitats and species.
- Managing noise pollution from ports (ANCHOR LIFE)
The European Environment Agency estimates that 65% of EU citizens in major cities are exposed to high noise levels and more than 20% to night-time noise, with adverse health effects. Ports are one of the main sources of urban noise. ANCHOR LIFE will define strategies and best practices for port noise management, focusing on the measurement and mitigation of noise pollution in five ports located near cities – Livorno, Piombino and Portoferraio (Italy), Patras (Greece) and Melilla (a Spanish exclave in North Africa). It will develop a reward scheme to encourage private sector enterprises in the Italian ports to adopt best practices in noise reduction, set up a ‘smart’ port noise monitoring system in Patras and define port noise assessment guidelines for Melilla.
- Training the food service industry to produce less waste (LIFE FOSTER)
The food service sector wastes over 10 million tonnes of food every year, around 12% of total EU food waste. Most of this comes from the kitchen (overproduction, trimmings, spoiled or burned items, etc.) rather than the customer. The project will foster a bottom-up approach that focuses on prevention of food waste rather than recycling. This will be achieved through education of trainee chefs, kitchen staff and front-of-house personnel during the placements that form part of their studies. The project will also provide training on food waste to catering and hospitality sector trainers in Italy, France, Spain and Malta so that they teach the subject in their classes and thus reach more students. LIFE FOSTER will encourage chefs and restaurateurs to reduce waste and optimise food storage, including by testing new technology.
- Showing the red card to football match waste (LIFE TACKLE)
Football generates a huge amount of waste: over 4 tonnes on average for a UEFA tournament match and around 750 000 tonnes each year, according to Europe’s national football associations. To address a widespread lack of waste prevention and recycling strategies, LIFE TACKLE will prepare guidelines for three national football associations – Italy, Romania and Sweden – and develop and implement communication campaigns involving clubs and famous players. This will increase awareness on waste issues among leagues, clubs, supporters, and stadium staff. The project will work with UEFA and another four national associations to share and replicate results.
LIFE Climate Change Adaptation (4 projects – 8.2 million)
- Encouraging the switch to climate-resilient crops (GREAT LIFE)
Warmer and drier weather through climate change is having a negative effect on crop production, especially the growing of maize which consumes large amounts of water. Maize is the main crop grown in Italy’s Po Valley region, but the GREAT LIFE project will show that millet, sorghum and other crops are viable climate-resilient alternatives. It plans to promote the supply and demand of food products based on these crops among public canteens and private consumers in the region. The end result will be greater soil fertility and lower water consumption. The project’s interventions will be replicated in Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Spain.
- A smart approach to monitoring green spaces in cities (LIFE URBANGREEN)
Cities are particularly sensitive and vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as heatwaves, flooding, droughts and the urban heat island effect, which is when cities are much hotter than surrounding rural areas. LIFE URBANGREEN will show that the management of urban green areas in two European cities can be improved by the introduction of a monitoring platform based on geographic information systems. This platform will enable the ecosystem services provided by green areas in cities to be assessed using remote sensing data, the irrigation of trees to be smartly managed and the public to be involved in environmental monitoring. The trials in Rimini, Italy and Krakow, Poland are expected to reduce the cities’ greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and air temperature.
- Promoting adaptation measures in town planning (LIFE METRO ADAPT)
Southern European cities such as Milan in Italy are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, experiencing hotter summer days, extended periods without rainfall and extreme weather. City planning must therefore include adaptation strategies and measures. LIFE METRO ADAPT is promoting nature-based solutions to address such climate-related problems, especially the risk of flooding and heatwaves, while also regenerating neglected urban spaces. It will engage local citizens and stakeholders from the construction sector to demonstrate a range of measures that can be taken, while supporting these activities through improved data and mapping of at-risk areas. Guidelines for vulnerability assessments will be shared with 10 cities in Italy.
- Increasing resilience to extreme rainfall (LIFE SimetoRES)
The increased frequency of extreme rainfall due to climate change can be especially harmful for towns and cities. Blue and green infrastructure that helps manage the runoff of storm-water, such as rain gardens and artificial wetlands, can make them more resilient to this challenge. LIFE SimetoRES is creating six such infrastructure elements based on a sustainable urban drainage system approach within the towns of Paternò and Ragalna in Sicily. Integrating such management through infrastructure into the Simeto River Agreement will improve the river valley’s resilience to climate change in the long term.
LIFE Climate Change Mitigation (5 projects – 17.0 million)
- Reducing the global warming potential of air conditioning (ZEROGWP)
Hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants have a significant global warming potential and must be largely phased out of fridges, air conditioning and ventilation units in the EU by 2030. A propane alternative, R290, has near zero global warming potential but is highly flammable and so cannot currently be used in standard air conditioning units. ZEROGWP will enable the company INNOVA to bring its propane-based double duct air conditioning systems closer to market by carrying out extensive field tests in residential buildings in Italy, Czech Republic and Slovakia ahead of promoting its commercial uptake across Europe. The project will carry out a lifecycle analysis of the new technology’s environmental performance, make its safety performance available to policymakers and draw up a business plan.
- Showing the climate action benefits of planting legumes (LIFE AGRESTIC)
Planting legumes as part of cropland rotation increases the land’s capacity to sequester carbon while reducing the need to apply nitrogen. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Legumes also offer protection from pests and weed growth. With the help of a new decision-support system for farmers, LIFE AGRESTIC will demonstrate these benefits on pilot sites in Italy. This system will ensure that the crop rotations are efficiently managed, diminishing the use of nitrogen fertilisers and pesticides, as well as non-renewable resources, such as soil and fuel. The project will also design a quality label scheme for produce from efficient cropping systems.
- Waste-powered district heating (LIFE4HeatRecovery)
Heating and cooling systems are responsible for around half of the EU’s energy consumption and thus have a great impact on natural resources. LIFE4HeatRecovery’s innovation is the creation of a modular technology that makes use of reversible heat pumps to recover or reuse heat from urban waste. It will trial the concept at four district heating networks in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands to show that harvesting heat from multiple urban sources is a viable alternative to fossil fuels. The project will develop management plans for district heating networks, a public database of waste heat sources and a financing and risk management plan for utility companies and investors.
- A substitute for harmful refrigerants (C4R)
Commercial refrigerators are still largely based on synthetic fluorinated refrigerants that have a damaging impact on the ozone layer and which contribute to global warming. LIFE C4R’s six pilots in Italy, Spain and Romania are designed to prove that harmful refrigerants can be substituted with carbon dioxide at any temperature on an industrial scale. Not only does the proposed technology reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is also at least 10% more energy efficient than current systems as well as being cheaper to install and maintain.
- Saving carbon-storing underwater meadows (SEA FOREST LIFE)
Neptune grass (Posidonia) meadows store large amounts of carbon and thus have a vital role to play in mitigating climate change. More than 200 sea meadows are found off the coast of Italy, but these are being destroyed at a rate of around 17% each year. The SEA MEADOW LIFE project aims to reverse this decline by identifying good practices for consolidating and expanding the meadows. It aims to define standards for determining the amount of carbon dioxide stored and to create a platform for a nationwide market in carbon credits. A mooring plan will also be drawn up for most at-risk Neptune grass meadows. Similar measures will also take place in Malta.
LIFE Climate Governance & Information (1 project – 2.1 million)
- Using natural water retention to reduce the impact of flooding (LIFE BEWARE)
Floods and heavy rainfall are becoming increasingly common as a result of climate change. The LIFE BEWARE project is using natural water retention measures to diminish the risks and the economic damage caused by flooding. It will engage the people of the Veneto region of northern Italy, an area prone to floods, through workshops and investment opportunities. Activities include improving building codes to take into account climate change adaptation, the development of sustainable urban drainage systems and the creation of a large water retention basin for storing water on agricultural land.
(A cura di M.A.Cerizza)