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Brief description of the latest conditionally approved projects «  Back

The third Steering Committee took place in Cardiff on 3-4 June 2003. The Steering Committee conditionally approved 24 projects. The first 11 projects are detailed below. On September 4th 2003, the Programme Steering Committee will meet to verify that the conditions laid down for the other 13 conditionally approved projects have been met:

1. FINESSE (C043) Measure 5.1: Freight Intermodality and Exchange on Sea and Straits in Europe

This 3-year project led by the UK's South East England Development Agency brings together 11 partners with the objective of developing sustainable freight transport services between the South East of England, France and Belgium, including rail-ferry services and hinterland connections. The FINESSE project entails research and practical preparations for sustainable, intermodal transport and logistical operations, in particular, by way of transferring freight onto rail-ferries between Dover and Calais, and shipping containers and trailers. The partners will carry out feasibility studies, develop business plans, design marketing tools, and negotiate with potential operators. They may envisage submitting future applications for Interreg and/or Marco-Polo based on the results of the project. The issue of rail-ferry cargo transport and the movement of hazardous goods is highly relevant for the NWE region, thus Interreg IIIB is regarded as an extremely suitable vehicle for tackling this issue, which, ultimately depends upon transnational co-operation. The project brings together port authorities, regional authorities and chambers of commerce, and is a highly innovative attempt to co-ordinate strategies across the English Channel/La Manche region and between its port network, the benefits of which could extend far beyond port hinterlands, as far as Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

2. LIIIFT (C041) Measure 2.1: Long Innovative, Intermodal and Interoperable Freight Trains

LIIIFT builds upon the conclusions of IIC studies to tackle the traffic growth foreseen along the Paris-Amsterdam corridor - a high increase in road traffic, low rail transport capacity and, subsequently, increased environmental externalities. The project, led by the French railway body SNCF (Socit Nationale des Chemins de Fer Franais), groups together 9 partners from Belgium, France and the Netherlands, seeks to promote improved rail freight services by investigating how to make goods transport by trains more competitive - notably, by examining the feasibility of running longer trains (up to 1000m) with the requisite technically specifications to allow them to operate on a north-south route. The 4 year project is defined around 7 tasks, the principal objectives being to increase the capacity of combined freight trains on the targeted route, develop interoperability by harmonising operational rules and promote transnational cooperation between the partners from different 'rail cultures'. Bringing together an extremely promising partnership of rail operators, port bodies and freight handlers, LIIIFT may ultimately make a significant contribution to a rail-freight traffic growth and modal switch. The north-south Amsterdam-Paris corridor appears to be an excellent area in which to investigate - and potentially pilot - the operation of longer freight trains, in the first instance.

3. POLYNET (C062) Measure 1.2: Sustainable Management of European Polycentric Mega-City Regions

With a lead partner from the United Kingdom (Institute of Community Studies), and a total of 8 partners from the UK, Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland, POLYNET examines changes in functional connections and information flows (physical/transportation and virtual/ICT). Lasting more than 3 years, the project's objectives are: i) to investigate how the modern phenomena of business decentralisation and spatial concentration are affecting patterns of network flows for urban services in seven major NWE polycentric 'Global-Mega-City-Regions' or 'gateways' in 6 NWE countries; ii) to analyse the impact on changes in patterns of network behaviour on information flows across the NEW and EU; iii) to investigate the effect of behaviour in one city-region on others (intra-regional, inter-regional); and iv) structure these activities within a geographically-specific research framework that will have a transnational relevance and potential impact. The project participants will undertake quantitative analyses of personal movements, business network connections and telecommunications traffic, as well as a qualitative analysis of business linkages, with the aim of proposing new policy recommendations and response. Various teams will conduct case studies using similar methodology, as well as a number of comparative analyses, in so doing contribute to the knowledge base on polycentric functional and spatial relations in the north-west Europe. At the end of the project a Transnational Policy Network will be established to promote the development of complementary spatial plans to promote polycentricity and enhance interconnections at local, regional, national and transnational levels. The project should deliver a useful contribution to the further development of the NWE Spatial Vision and the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP).

4. RHINENET (CB034) Measure 3.1: For a sustainable and participatory management of the Rhine Basin, development of a model to implement the European Water Framework Directive with specific consideration of public participation

The 5-year project, involving 13 partners from Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and with a lead partner in Saarbrcken, seeks to develop two inter-related issues of sustainable water management and the involvement of stakeholders and the civil society in the decision-making process - both issues were recently integrated into the Water Framework Directive. The overall objectives are to develop a sustainable, participatory and integrated water management approach in the Rhine river basin and to promote solidarity among users and local residents, based on principles of democracy and the respect of shared natural (water) resources. In the long term the aim is naturally to change habits in water usage both on the river and domestically. The project contains 5 'components': i) information and awareness-raising; ii) testing of approaches in selected cases; iii) consultation of stakeholders and the civil society; iv) dissemination of project results; iv) general project management. RHINENET signals a creative transnational approach to water management, for which the range of actions envisaged include the organisation of cultural and music events, development of educational guides and promotional materials, information days, pilot actions for monitoring protection zones and classifying wetlands, and various communication activities targeted at local populations.

5. ESPACE (CB023) Measure 3.1: European Spatial Planning: Adapting to Climate Events

ESPACE is a UK-led project (Hampshire County Council) with 10 partners, many from across the water in Belgium and the Netherlands. The project seeks to contribute to challenge faced by administrations to minimise the risk that climate change brings to society, economy and the environment, by influencing the philosophy and practice of spatial planning. The core objectives of the project are to develop a approach to spatial planning that can be applied transnationally and which will, on the one hand, help determine how best to incorporate considerations concerning the potential impacts of climate change into policy strategy, and, on the other hand, recommend the most suitable approaches at local, regional, national and European levels. Almost six years in duration, the project is composed of a number of key actions: i) establishing an extended partnership to contribute to the development of a transnational approach; ii) raising awareness among stakeholders on a variety of issues related to climate change and adaptation; iii) reviewing and test relevant corrective measure and policies; iv) developing mechanisms to influence the decision-making process. The extended partnership will secure the wide dissemination of project results to influence future policy formulation practices.

6. EGHN (CA022) Measure 4.2: European Garden Heritage Network

From Capability Brown's landscaping of rambling English country estates to the legacy of Le Ntre at the Palace of Versailles, the garden heritage of the NWE region is rich and diverse, and a cultural asset in need of protection. Yet, the value and significance of these gardens is not always properly recognised by policy-makers. With increasing mechanisation and changing trends there is the risk that traditional gardening skills die out. Recognising the need for forward-planning to safeguard and celebrate 'garden identities' in north-west Europe, and consider the about the role of gardens and of landscape gardening within spatial planning, this German-led project brings together 9 partners from Germany, France and the United Kingdom in an effort to promote European gardens and parks as a cultural asset for regional development and as a common heritage feature in NWE. The objective of EGHN is to consolidate the sharing of resources and knowledge, the development of best practice, the creation and the implementation of joint measures and the development of transferable models. Over 5-years the project will integrate the management and marketing of gardens within regional planning strategies through a cross-fertilization of actions among partners, and the definition of transnational garden itineraries, based on the recognition of 'anchor' gardens that have a significant cultural and economic impact on the regional landscape. The project will seek to harmonise information on gardens through inter-regional gateways and investigate improvements to access through sustainable transport, as well as develop actions in the fields of education, innovation, conservation and the preservation of skills.

7. SEPTENTRION (C050) Measure 4.2: From the fortified to the sustainable town - The Low Country

This project, led by the Conseil Gnral du Nord (Lille), assembles an impressive 23 partners from Belgium, France and the Netherlands. It draws on the historical legacy of the Low Countries to examine its transnational cultural identity across the territory located between the four major urban heartlands of north-west Europe. The 5-year project seeks to make a coherent link between the architectural heritage and network of Flemish, Walloon and Dutch cities - particularly, in the guise of its fortified towns - and contemporary planning for sustainable development. Recognising that space has been 'eaten into' by expanding urban networks and sprawl, the project advocates commitment to firm action to tackle imbalances which impede upon environmental quality. SEPTENTRION is based on the concept of a creative management of the architectural heritage with the ultimate objective of preserving the common identity of the Low Countries, which includes the quality management of the urban and rural landscape. The well-balanced transnational partnership tackles this common heritage theme through a cluster of widely-spread investments, to create a cohesive necklace of 'interpretation centres' across the region, as well as carry out small restoration or conversion activities. The project essentially offers an innovative, inter-regional vision for sustainable tourism, as a component of a wider spatial development and planning strategy for the NWE.

8. BLUE LINKS (C049) Measure 2.1: Liens Bleus: Tamise-Dele-Escaut-Meuse

BLUE LINKS led by the French inland waterways body Voies Navigables de France brings together 5 partners from France and Belgium with the objective of restoring of the French-Belgian cross-border link across the rivers Dele and Escaut - a vital missing link in the larger inland waterway network of the NWE. In so doing, over almost 5 years it will give an industrial and cultural renaissance to the canal-side areas, to provide benefits both to the local population and the environment. In the last 15 years much restoration has already got underway with Objective 2 funds, after the canal was brought to the attention of the British Inland Waterways Association in 1989 (who realised the common heritage link with the industrial canals of the Midlands) and the Nord Pas-de-Calais region (who embarked upon studies for the development of tourist-related activities in 1994). The reopening of the link is intended by 2004. With 92% of the total budget earmarked for investments, the project will have a significant economic impact locally through urban/canal-side regeneration actions, but also a profound transnational impact on the wider east-west inland waterway network by allowing for stronger links and canal activity between the Thames, Dele, Escaut (Schelde) and Meuse (Maas).

9. SDF (C063) Measure 3.2: Sustainable Development of Flood Plains

The bursting of river banks, flooding of towns and evacuation of communities, have, in recent times, brought about the need for drastic short-term measures including the construction of emergency dams and dykes. With flooding predicted to become ever more acute and ever more frequent, German and Dutch governments have been forced to take more drastic long-term action to cope with rising water levels. One way of doing this is to address the storage and drainage capacity of the river Rhine. Thus, the key objective of SDF, led by the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management), and in collaboration with 8 partners from Germany and the Netherlands, is to take steps to expand the Rhine's main drainage capacity. The project envisages creating new, innovative facilities for temporary water storage. Building on assessments made during the former IIC IRMA Programme, this 5 year project will carry out a number of investments, to bring added-value and synergies to a range of activities being carried out in the areas of flood management, multiple land use in flood plains, nature development, public consultation and the involvement of PPP. A high level of cross-sectoral integration is to be achieved transnationally, with a transfer of experience at the design and implementation stages through collaborative approaches to 9 technical investments at 7 different locations. The project addresses engineering and navigation, environmental protection and development, and communication and social action, all with a view to sustainable territorial development.

10. WARELA (C047) Measure 3.1: Water Retention by Land Use - Development of transnational instruments for spatial planning to decrease flood disasters by precautionary land-use in meso-scale catchment areas

Besides the major flooding of main rivers, significant damage is caused by flooding of smaller tributaries. Thus flood protection measures implemented through large engineering projects must - to make them efficient as possible - be complemented by integrated river catchment management, implying the active involvement of farmers, foresters, and residents, since changing both user habits and land use will have an impact on water retention and run-off. This technical water project, led by the German Research Institute for Forest Ecology and forestry (Rheinland Pfalz), which brings together a total of 11 partners from Germany, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland over 4 years, looks at preventative water retention measures implemented across the NWE. The economic, ecological and managerial efficiency of different measures will be assessed by calculating their effects across different landscape structure, meteorological situations and types of land use in the Member States involved. WaReLa will use GIS-based systems and open programme-controlled systems (and promote training in them) to test individual flood scenarios, compile a comprehensive overview and elaborate a regional planning framework/decision support system for transnational river basin management. The transnational network of partners consists of expertise from hydroclimatological analysts, flood experts, decision-makers, farmers and local water authorities, who will all benefit from a transfer of knowledge within the partnership.

11. CYCLEAU (C058) Measure 5.2

A 4-year co-operation exercise between 7 partners in the UK, France and Ireland, this project, led by the UK Environment Agency (Cornwall), aims to develop a common, transferable and integrated approach to planning and management of natural (water) resources in the coastal zone by looking at the whole catchment area. It is innovative in its transnational approach to the management of coastal waters since it crosses the geographical divide where traditional ICZM has focused on the coordination of strategies in coastal zones alone. CYCLEAU thus links the planning and management of coastal zones and estuaries with that of their inland river catchment areas within an integrated planning process. Its objective is to develop a quality brand and methodology for coastal management to enhance environmental quality, promote sustainable economic activity and maximise stakeholder involvement. The project partners will carry out a number of pilot test actions and small investments at demonstration sites to explore new ways of managing and planning, ranging from implementing new techniques for water de-contamination, dredging and dealing with sedimentation, to securing the participation of farmers in addressing diffuse pollution, and developing a technical resource centre. Drawing on a rich background of pre-established national and European practices in the management of water resources, the partnership seeks to link all elements with the water management chain to optimise the common benefits for all and bring about holistic gains.

Click here DOC PDF to read about the 14 projects approved at PSC 1 & 2.

cities&regions transport&it water&flood risks nature&heritage seas&ports