§ Mr. Spring
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the success of the EU LIFE Programme. 
§ Mr. Meacher
The EC LIFE programme provides co-financing for actions both in nature conservation (LIFE-Nature) and in other fields of the environment (LIFE-Environment), as well as specific environmental actions outside the EU (LIFE Third Countries). The European Commission is responsible for implementing the LIFE programme.
My Department has been fully involved in the assessment currently being carried out by the Court of Auditors on the LIFE programme. The Commission are required (under Article 12 of Regulation EC 1655–2000 of the European Parliament and the Council concerning LIFE) to produce a report on the implementation of the LIFE Regulation, including the programme's contribution to the development of Community environment policy, by 30 September 2003.
In the UK, the LIFE fund has provided significant financial assistance to a number of projects under both the LIFE-Nature and LIFE-Environment components. Between 1992 and 2000, the UK has secured 92 LIFE-Environment projects, receiving around 49 million co-funding (approximately' £30 million). Over the same period, 30 LIFE-Nature projects have been supported with co-funding amounting to over 30 million (approximately £18.5 million).
The European Commission has just published the document 'Life after LIFE', which sets out a number of LIFE-Nature project case studies and provides an illustration of some of the longer-term results of LIFE-Nature funding. A copy of this will be placed in the House Library.