The Urban Improvement Fund (UIF) works on the parallel lines of the successful Environment Initiatives Partnership Programme (EIPP), which the Authority has been running since 2001. This fund will mainly cater for the improvements in urban areas, such as landscaping, traffic management and other embellishment works. Sixty-six local councils will be benefiting from these funds.
The Development Planning Act (Art 40) provides for the levy of a community gain in particular development. This provision was refined in other legal instruments and the development manual DC 2005 explains further. This states that where the Commuted Payment Parking Scheme is not in force, a fee of €1 164.69 is requested from applicants in lieu of parking spaces which cannot be provided on site. The money is to be used for urban improvement. The Development Control Commissions started applying the €1 164.69 rule where parking cannot be accommodated on site and in localities where a Commuted Parking Payment Scheme has not been established.
Projects that can benefit from the funds
The urban improvement projects that can benefit from this fund are to fit within the following list of projects. This list applies to both the creation of new amenities as well as to the improvement of existing ones.
Gardens and landscaping areas
Traffic Management schemes including the implementation of sustainable urban transport plans aimed at reducing the impact on air pollution, noise, congestion and CO2 emissions.
Facilities for the Disabled
Green Transport modes
Projects using methods of sustainable construction such as energy efficient buildings, which aims at decreasing CO2 emissions.
In order for a project to be eligible, it needs to be proposed by the local council or by central government. In the case of private developers or NGO's carrying out the project, these need to go through the respective local council, as the funds will only be passed to the council (or to central government). In order to apply for the funds, the local council (or central government) must submit a detailed estimate of costs of the project, stating how much funding is expected from the UIF.
In the case where the UIF for that particular locality is not enough to cover the total cost of the project, it must be demonstrated clearly where the rest of the funds will be obtained. This is to ensure that there is a genuine effort to implement the project. All the necessary development permits must be obtained for the projects submitted.