MONMOUTHSHIRE Council has secured the highest Active Travel funding in Wales

As part of the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund 2023/24, the authority will receive £6.99million for this financial year, the highest allocation in Wales, to get people walking and cycling.

This comes after successive years of increased funding for strategic projects across the county, echoing the commitment Monmouthshire has made towards enabling people to walk, wheel and cycle instead of using their car.

Monmouthshire Council has also received £500k in core funding, which is to be used for the design and development of the proposed Wye Bridge and Wyesham Links projects, and for smaller projects around the county, focussing on minor improvements to Active Travel routes, bringing them up to the required standards.

Active Travel is the term used for getting around via walking, cycling and wheeling (which includes wheelchairs and mobility scooters), instead of by car for short everyday journeys, such as going to school, work or shopping. Monmouthshire has a ten-year plan for improvements across the county, which has been divided into specific projects.

In Monmouth the funding will see the continued development of a foot and cycle bridge across the Wye progress.

The bridge which has received support from many residents is currently in the planning stage.

A council spokesperson said: "It will provide a safe route from Wyesham into Monmouth for students heading to school.

"It will also be a benefit to anyone wanting to travel to work or appointments safely, away from the cars and lorries on the busy Wye road bridge."

The council's highways department originally planned on widening the upstream pavement on the 400-year-old road crossing to improve safety.

But that now appears to have been superseded by the active travel footbridge plan, which will see a modern structure some 70 yards upstream of the Grade II-listed bridge, which heritage body Cadw has raised no objection to.

The bridge provides access to the Forest and Wye Valley off the A40 dual carriageway, one of the busiest roads in South-East Wales, carrying traffic to and from the region from the Midlands.

Also in Monmouth, the Williams Field Lane Links scheme is going ahead, which will see 'major improvements' to the pedestrian and cycling route from Williams Field Lane to Monnow Bridge, making it easier and safer to travel into the centre of the town at any time of day and any time of the year.

There will also be a new crossing across Wonastow Industrial Estate, as part of the wider scheme connecting Kingswood Gate to the heart of Monmouth.

In Abergavenny the newly announced funding will see the Phase 1 construction of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the River Usk about 50 metres east of the existing road bridge.

The crossing between Castle Meadows and Ysbytty Fields will make it' healthier and safer' for walkers and ‘wheelers’ to get into town and to the railway station.

A council spokesperson said: "It will mean that residents will be able to travel from Llanfoist into Abergavenny to work, to school or to appointments, without having to walk alongside cars and lorries.

In Caldicot the Active Travel route will utilise the disused railway line turning it into a new walking and wheeling route.

It will provide a car-free link between Caldicot Castle and Country Park to Church Road that will take people through the countryside and away from the roads, and will enable local people working at Mitel, Castlegate business park and Seven Bridge Industrial Estate to travel off-road from their neighbourhood to work.

The A40 sees thousands of vehicle movements daily passing through Monmouth beside the river, but the council says it is committed to helping 'decarbonise' the environment 'one journey at a time' by getting local people to leave the car at home.

Cllr. Sara Burch (Cantref, Welsh Labour/Co-op), Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Active Communities, said: “This is fantastic news for the county and highlights the steps Monmouthshire is taking to encourage more people to support Active Travel and leave the car at home.

"Soon we will start seeing large projects beginning to be delivered on the ground, which will help decarbonise our transport, one journey at a time.

"We are committed to working with the Welsh Government to deliver our shared vision – a Wales where walking and cycling are the safe and normal choice for local trips.

"These Active Travel schemes have been developed and shaped by the needs of our communities, who we are continually engaging and listening to.

"We’ve been hearing from people for many years who about the need for inclusive, accessible routes. Today marks a big step forward to delivering this for Monmouthshire and its communities.

"This total funding of £7.49million is the largest ever Active Travel award achieved by Monmouthshire County Council from Welsh Government, demonstrating its commitment to improving walking, cycling and wheeling routes within the county.

"Previous awards included £3.9million in 22/23, £3million in 21/22 and £1.8million in 20/21.”

For more information on Active Travel in Monmouthshire visit the council's active travel website  or contact the team via [email protected]