Policy Area Nutri of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region works on Saving the Sea, which is one of the three main objectives of the Strategy. The aim of the Policy Area is to reduce nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea to acceptable levels.
Of the many environmental challenges facing the Baltic Sea, the most serious and difficult to tackle with conventional approaches is the continuing eutrophication. Excessive nutrient loads through agricultural run-off, inadequately treated sewage, airborne emissions and internal loading are the main cause of eutrophication. The impacts of eutrophication include oxygen depletion, reduced water clarity, an increase in filamentous algae, summer blooms of cyanobacteria (blue green algae) and other undesirable changes in species composition.
The latest decades' large-scale investments in waste water treatment plants and key decisions on cleaner shipping have had an important impact on decreasing the nutrient load. According to the latest HELCOM assessment total normalised nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the Baltic Sea have decreased with 18% and 23%, respectively, since the mid-1990s. However, to save the sea, further and continued action is needed.
The first step of the second Interreg call for the Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014 -2020 (1 March – 1 June 2016), in which lead applicants were asked to submit a concept notes, is now closed.
In the process, PA Nutri gave the letters of commitments to the following projects:
1. Better Efficiency for Sewage Treatment (BEST)
2. Baltic Rural Wastewater (BaRuWa)
3. Sustainable Communal Wastewater Management in the Baltic Sea Region (SUWMAB)
4. Enhancing Efficiency of Small Wastewater Treatment Plants (SmallWWTPs)
5. Increasing Significance of Midfield Wetlands to Combat Baltic Sea Eutrophication (SIGWET)
6. Sufficient and Reliable Nutrient Loading Data – The River Daugava Catchment Area (RelNutData)
All the concept notes received are now being thoroughly assessed. Applicants whose concept notes are selected by the Monitoring Committee on 13-14 September 2016 need to prepare complete project applications by January 2017 (Step 2).
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and the EU today signed the agreements on the European Economic Area (EEA) and Norway Grants for the period 2014-2021.
The priorities for the 2014-2021 funding period reflect the major challenges facing Europe and align with EU priorities:
•Innovation, Research, Education and Competitiveness
•Social Inclusion, Youth Employment and Poverty Reduction
•Environment, Energy, Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy
•Culture, Civil Society, Good Governance and Fundamental Rights
•Justice and Home Affairs
The support is divided into two schemes: one funded jointly by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (EEA Grants) and one funded by Norway alone (Norway Grants).
The funding will be made available to 15 beneficiary states in Central and Southern Europe and the Baltics.