Brussels, 22 January 2002
Urban II programme: European Union contributes Euro 11.8 million to urban regeneration in the Thames Gateway, Kent
Michel Barnier, Commissioner responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in the Thames Gateway area in Kent. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative Programme will provide € 11.8 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted € 15.5 million in further investment from the public sector and € 1.9 million from the private sector, creating total resources of € 29.2 million. Priorities will include training, improvement of the business environment and various measures to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups, particularly into the labour market.
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 the Thames Gateway is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme priorities of social inclusion, training and renewing the business infrastructure. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in the Thames Gateway area."
The programme area covers ten wards(2) on the North Kent coast with a population of 45,027. The area forms part of the historic port and dock land of London. Since the containerisation of freight traffic, economic activity in this area has declined and long term unemployment and social problems characterise the situation.
The programme aims to tackle these problems with three main priorities:
An additional amount of € 0.83 million 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.
The goal of the URBAN Community Initiative is "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 in 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 2001-2006 and local actors are involved at all stages in this process.
Department of Transport, Local government and the Regions. Day-to-day management of the Thames Gateway programme is delegated to:
The Government Office for the South East
1, Walnut Tree Close
Guildford, Surrey GU1 4GA
Phone: 01483 882541
Fax: 01483 882529
More detailed information on URBAN II can be found in MEMO/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or at the following websites:
European Commission :
Government Office for the South East: http://www.go-se.gov.uk/infor/region.html
(1) See below for a description of URBAN II.
(2) Galley Hill, Swanscombe, Northfleet West, Northfleet East, Pelham, Central, Riverside, Horns Cross, Greenhithe and Westcourt