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Environment minister James Clappison today announced the closing date for applications for the 1996 round of the EC...
Environment minister James Clappison today announced the closing date for applications for the 1996 round of the EC LIFE fund. Bids from organisations in the UK in the field of nature and habitat conservation will have to be submitted to the department of the environment by 1 April.

Bids from projects in other environmental fields must be submitted by the 31 May.

The regulation to extend the LIFE Programme until the end of the century is expected to be adopted later this year, and the European Commission has decided that, in view of the popularity and success of the programme, the 1996 round of bids should begin as soon as possible.

European environment ministers have agreed that 450 million ECUs should initially be made available for LIFE over the period 1996-1999. Successful applicants can usually expect to receive 50% funding for specific projects from LIFE. The programme will be providing financial support for both nature conservation and other environmentally-beneficial projects - notably for the promotion of sustainable development in industry, and the integration of environmental considerations in land-use planning.

Mr Clappison said: 'In 1995, 15 projects from the UK made successful bids for funding, and received a total of £5.5m from the LIFE Fund, bringing the total number of LIFE projects in the UK to 65 after four years. I hope that we can do even better in 1996.

'This year, the criteria for funding in the area of environmental improvement are very broad - so there should be even more scope for bids of all kinds from the UK to be successful. I would encourage local authorities, businesses, universities and other bodies from the UK to think about applying for funds from LIFE for environmentally-beneficial projects of all types.'

'Although the competition for funding is fierce, some of the very best projects from across Europe have come from the UK. In the past, the most successful LIFE applications have been those with a definite European dimension to them - either because they tackle a problem that is widespread across the community or because they are put forward by a consortium of partners from across Europe. I would invite interested parties to contact the department of the environment for an information pack and application form. They should send a fax, setting out their postal address, to 0171-276-8877.'

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