On 11 January, the Environmental Investment Centre (EIC) opened an application round for environmental projects supported from State funds, which welcomes local governments, non-profit associations, foundations, entrepreneurs, universities, educational institutions, apartment associations and sole proprietors to submit projects. The budget for the round is EUR 11,828,000, and the deadline for submitting applications is 1 March 2021.
According to Rain Epler, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the EIC and the Minister of the Environment, a very extensive target group is expected to apply, in order to carry out various environmental projects with the aid of the State. “Be these studies, camps that increase environmental awareness, events and shows, or even ecodesign solutions, creating infrastructure that supports recreational fishing, combatting a problematic species, joining apartment associations to a district heating network, or upgrading a regional water system. Come and apply to act in the name of a better environment,” said the Minister of the Environment.
“Interest in the grant is high, and we expect to receive hundreds of applications. For this reason, we have provided more time than usual for applicants to prepare their projects, so that they would exhibit high quality and be well thought through when we receive them by 1 March,” explained the Head of the Department of Grants and Services at EIC, Antti Tooming. “It must also be noted that from the same funds, a separate round will be organised for educational institutions in the spring, and it will be possible to apply for grants for waste management projects in early autumn,” Tooming added.
Out of the total budget for the round, EUR 5.2 million will be directed towards water management to ensure the availability of high-quality drinking water and sewerage service throughout Estonia. EUR 1.85 million is intended for environmental awareness projects, to support, for example, information campaigns on environmental awareness, waste reduction and separate waste collection, and biodiversity, the organisation of events increasing environmental awareness, or creation of a media product. EUR 1.39 million is directed at circular economy projects, to support, for example, innovative environmental management solutions, the implementation of green offices and schools, applying for the EU ecolabel, and studies related to environmental management, the subsurface, waste and dangerous chemicals.
In the field of forestry, a total of EUR 900,000 in support will be allocated for the production of forest trees, forestry science and education outreach programmes and communication projects concerning hunting. EUR 750,000 is allocated to nature conservation, where the carrying out of action plans for protected species and habitats, or combatting problematic species is supported. The budget for fisheries is EUR 600,000, in order to support the organisation of fishing competitions, seminars and camps, the establishment of infrastructure to support environmentally friendly recreational fishing, or the creation, restoration of or access to spawning grounds and habitats to increase and protect fish stocks. From the budget of the round, EUR 600,000 is allocated to the marine environment where, among other things, evaluation of the condition of the sea and the collection of data necessary for this, and activities for the effective and sustainable use of marine ecosystem services are supported. EUR 530,000 is intended for projects for the protection of atmospheric air, in order to support the proper treatment of radioactive waste, informing of dangers originating from ionising radiation, or the replacement of heating devices of apartment associations with ones using renewable fuel, or joining with a district heating network.
All supported activities can be found on the EIC website. The process of applying takes place via the data system KIKAS. Information days for applicants will be held on 20 January (protection of atmospheric air, marine environment and water management) and 21 January (fishery, forestry, nature conservation and environment awareness). The schedule and the possibility to register can be found on the EIC website.
Projects, in regard to which a financing decision has been made, will be revealed by St. John’s Day of this year. Applying for a grant takes place under the Terms and Conditions for Providing Support from the Environmental Programme. The grant was developed by the Ministry of the Environment.