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IP/02/104

Brussels, 22 January 2002

Urban II programme : European Union contributes Euro 10.6 million to urban regeneration in Bristol, UK

Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in the Bristol area of South-West England. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide over € 10.6 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted € 10.6 million in further investment from the public sector and € 1.1 million from the private sector, creating total resources of € 22.4 million. Priorities will include improving access to employment, creating a safe, attractive and healthy environment, and projects for young people.

Announcing the decision, Michel BARNIER said: "The URBAN Initiative is a creative and innovative approach to urban regeneration. These programmes have a strong "grassroots" emphasis, involving local people at all stages in the decision making process. The programme for Bristol is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme priorities of improving access to employment, creating a safe, attractive and healthy environment, and engaging with young people. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in the Bristol area."

The programme area covers part of South Bristol, including parts of six electoral wards(2), with a population of 37,041. The area has experienced significant social, economic and environmental decline since the loss of manufacturing employment in the 1970s.

The programme aims to tackle the problems with three main priorities:

  • Improving access to employment. Key actions include seeking to break the cycle of educational under-achievement and unemployment, which characterises the area (Community contribution: € 2.5 million).

  • Creating a safe, attractive and healthy environment for people to live in. Key actions include linking the physical regeneration of the area with social and economic regeneration (Community contribution: € 4.6 million).

  • Engaging with young people. Key actions include ensuring that young people see themselves and are seen by others as part of the solution by pioneering integrated approaches to enable young people to develop solutions to issues (Community contribution: € 2.7 million).

An additional amount of € 0.8 million (Community contribution) will finance technical assistance.

As with all URBAN programmes, this programme will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the responsibility of Mr Barnier.

URBAN

The aim of the URBAN Community Initiative is the "economic and social regeneration of cities and of neighbourhoods in crisis in order to promote sustainable urban development". The second round of URBAN ("URBAN II") will cover the period 2000-2006, supporting 70 deprived urban areas across the EU. Total funding from the EU alone will be € 728.3 million and this will attract at least as much again in matched funding from both public and private sectors.

The total URBAN allocation for the United Kingdom amounts to € 121.7 million. Programmes have been submitted for West Wrexham, Belfast, Bristol, Burnley, Halifax, Hetton and Murton, Normanton/Derby, Peterborough, Stockwell, Thames Gateway and Clyde Waterfront.

A particular feature of URBAN II is the development of innovative models for urban regeneration. Another feature is a strong emphasis on partnership and on involving local actors. There will also be an exchange of information and experience on sustainable urban development across the European Union.

URBAN II is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Funding is available for initiatives such as the renovation of buildings and public spaces, local employment initiatives, the improvement of education and training systems for disadvantaged groups, the development of environmentally friendly public transport systems, the introduction of more efficient energy management systems and the use of renewable energy, developing the potential created by information society technologies.

The Commission adopts programmes, which are proposed by a partnership including local and community groups. These programmes run for the whole of the period 2000-2006 and local actors are involved at all stages in this process.

Managing Authority

The managing authority is the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions. Day-to-day management of the Bristol programme is delegated to:

The Government Office for the South West

4th Floor, The Pithay

Bristol BS1 2PB

Phone: 0117 900 1700

Fax:  0117 900 1900

E-mail: HYPERLINK "goswbris@online.rednet.co.uk"goswbris@online.rednet.co.ukFurther information

More detailed information on the URBAN Community Initiative may be found in MEMO/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or at the following websites:

European Commission :

http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/wbpro/PRORD/prordc/prordc18_en.htm

Government Office for the South West: http://www.gosw.gov.uk/

(1) See below for a description of URBAN II.

(2) Bishopsworth, Filwood, Hartcliffe, Hengrove, Knowle and Whitchurch Park.


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