Monmouthshire County Council has signed a groundbreaking agreement with three other English and Welsh local authorities.

The Marches Forward Partnership became a reality at an official event held at Hay Castle the border of England and Wales. The new partnership sees Monmouthshire County Council join forces with Herefordshire, Shropshire and Powys County Councils to take on some of the big challenges they share.

The four local authorities aim to work closely with UK and Welsh Governments to progress this exciting cross-border collaboration. This will include working jointly to secure funding support from both Governments and a wide range of other partners to unlock investment and new delivery approaches in major projects that benefit the Marches region.

Covering 80% of the English/Welsh borderland, the local authorities have similar characteristics and geography as well as an overriding mutual ambition for the region as a whole. The Partnership provides a unique commitment to work cross-border, cross-country and cross-party on major projects that are in the best interests of the region.

Transport, skills and housing, energy, climate change, tourism and digital connectivity are high on the agenda, all common issues for the area’s population of almost 750,000. By working together, the four local authorities hope to deliver cross-border successes and unlock millions of pounds for identified initiatives that support the Marches’ rural economy and green growth.

Monmouthshire County Council’s Leader, Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby, said: “I was delighted to sign the MoU today and look forward to working with the other leaders. We all recognise the immense opportunities that the partnership will open up for Monmouthshire and the Marches. By working together, we can tackle the shared challenges facing us all, such as affordable housing and river health. We anticipate that our partnership will increase overall funding and investment into the region. The discussions we are seeing are encouraging and prove that collectively, we can work together to develop Monmouthshire and the Marches as a whole.”