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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has concluded an €80 million finance contract with the Lens-Liévin Council (Communauté d’Agglomération de Lens-Liévin) for projects in water, sanitation, flood control and waste management.

  • €80 million contribution for sustainable development projects that will benefit the environment and biodiversity in the local area.
  • A project in line with European priorities in environmental protection, sustainable energy, and social and territorial cohesion.

On Friday, 29 April, the Lens-Liévin Council signed a loan agreement with the EIB. The meeting was attended by Sylvain Robert, president of the council, and Jean-Marie Alexandre, the vice-president in charge of finance and forecasting, as well as Ambroise Fayolle, vice-president of the EIB.

For the innovative projects under its current mandate, the Lens-Liévin Council requested EIB financing for part of the modernisation and innovation operations to be carried out for drinking water, sanitation, flood control and solid waste management infrastructure.

In line with the principles of the Paris Agreement, the €80 million loan will help achieve some of the Sustainable Development Goals between 2022 and 2026. The project chimes with the policy of providing local and regional authorities with EIB support in the form of framework loans issued in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

The investments will mainly cover the renewal of 73.5 km of drinking water pipes, 5 000 water connections and 64.4 km of sewerage pipes. They will also improve flood protection and help combat erosion through the securing and rehabilitation of around 62 km of riverbank and the construction of retention basins.

The collection, sorting and recycling of solid waste will be improved thanks to 500 new underground drop-off recycling points for selective waste collection, 1 600 wheelie bins, 3 000 home composters, 300 communal composters and the extension of the waste disposal site network.

The investments made thanks to this loan will contribute to the priorities of the EIB and the European Union in environmental protection, sustainable energy and cohesion policy at regional level. Following a technical and financial appraisal and a two-day site visit, the EIB approved the Lens-Liévin Council’s request for financing, with an estimated total project cost of €170 million. The EIB will provide €80 million of financing, which will be disbursed in up to ten tranches. The remaining €90 million will come from own funds and grants. This agreement will enable the council to carry out its projects under the most favourable conditions possible, thus preserving its financial equilibrium.

According to Sylvain Robert, president of the Lens-Liévin Council, “We have major plans for the area and hope to accomplish a great deal for our residents. Preserving natural resources and biodiversity, and climate change mitigation and adaptation are at the heart of everything we do. This EIB support is therefore a sign of confidence and optimism that these fundamental issues will be properly addressed. We are doing what it takes to preserve and protect our local area while leaving scope for innovation, all for a sustainable future.”

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said: “Infrastructure for drinking water, wastewater treatment, waste management and flood prevention is essential for people’s well-being and quality of life and is one of the EIB’s priorities for investment in public goods. I am pleased that the EIB, through this loan, is able to contribute to the more sustainable and environmentally friendly development of the Lens-Liévin area for its residents.”

Background information:

About the European Investment Bank

As the EU climate bank, it aims to encourage the emergence and deployment of innovations to meet ongoing challenges such as the energy transition to a new low-carbon growth model. In 2021, the EIB put more than two-thirds of its €9.2 billion of investments in France towards climate action projects, including €3.85 billion to finance public infrastructure that is more energy-efficient and better for the environment.

About the Communauté d’Agglomération de Lens-Liévin

The Lens-Liévin Council is responsible for an area of 240 km² and relies on its 36 municipalities to develop and implement its policies. The municipalities are an essential component of its work, and are represented by their mayors and councillors, who sit on the Community Council chaired by Sylvain Robert. The number of seats is proportional to the number of inhabitants: the more inhabitants a municipality has, the more council representatives it has.

The Lens-Liévin Council is responsible for a number of different areas, including economic development, waste recovery, water and sanitation, environment, housing, mobility, culture and sport.

Home to nearly 245 000 people, Lens-Liévin is very well located in the heart of the Hauts-de-France region, with direct connections to Paris. It offers access to the A1 and A26 motorways, the main routes linking France and Northern Europe, and is also easily accessible by train, with daily high-speed trains between Lens and Paris (1 hour and 10 minutes) and Lens and Lille (40-50 minutes).

It has a budget of €284 million: €145 million for operations and €139 million for investments.