The European Investment Bank (EIB) is granting an initial EUR 100 million loan for the Isséane project, a new state-of-the-art household waste treatment plant being built by SYCTOM (Syndicat Intercommunal de Traitement des Ordures Ménagères de l'Agglomération parisienne) in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris. This is Europe's biggest environmental construction project.

The loan contract was signed on 24 May in Paris by Mr François Dagnaud, Chairman of SYCTOM, and Mr Laurent de Mautort, Director of the EIB's Department for Lending Operations in Western Europe.

In line with EU policy, environmental protection is one of the EIB's financing priorities. Waste at the plant will be sorted and incinerated to recover energy, in application of the directive prohibiting the landfilling of untreated waste.

Installed partly underground and fitted with high-tech equipment minimising environmental pollution, Isséane will treat the waste of one million residents of Paris and its south-west suburbs. The plant will have a twofold function: sorting and recycling 50 000 tonnes of waste per year; and recovering energy from 460 000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste per year through incineration and steam production, meeting the equivalent heating needs of 79 000 households and supplying electricity as a by-product. It will therefore serve to save 110 000 tonnes equivalent of oil per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This partnership between the European Union's long-term financing institution and SYCTOM will enable the latter to diversify its sources of external funding. It takes the form of a EUR 250 million financing agreement with SYCTOM and its financial partners.