Monmouthshire’s Countryside Service and Adventa – the body responsible for delivering the council’s rural development programme – have launched a new website designed to lend a helping hand to rights of way volunteers as well as walking enthusiasts.  The council’s walking toolkit is a specially developed online walking and rights of way manual bringing together a wealth of information.

Nearly 50 people packed into Usk’s Centenary Hall to hear from the council’s Principal Countryside Access Officer Ruth Rourke and tourism specialist Ruth Taylor Davies how the website provides invaluable advice for footpath volunteers.  In addition, serious hikers, walking groups and casual ramblers will find the contents more than useful.

An engaging, comprehensive and straightforward guide, the council’s walking toolkit includes vital information about rights of way and walking, from path assessment and clearing, to creating a new leafleted walk, potential legal issues, marketing, walking festivals and sources of funding.  It also holds a calendar of local events and news page tailored for walking devotees.

County Councillor Giles Howard, cabinet member with responsibility for environment and countryside said: “We have created the online toolkit to support all rights of way and walking volunteers in the county, including those involved in the county’s four Walkers are Welcome towns – Abergavenny, Chepstow, Monmouth and Tintern.  All volunteers provide an important service for the benefit of residents and visitors and the online resource is designed to help them by consolidating walk-related information and providing support and guidance.  It will also be a central hub for volunteers with a similar interest and will be useful for anyone who wants to find out more about volunteering or supporting their local walking group in addition to community groups with any sort of walking interest.”

 For information about adding community groups to the directory or submitting news and events contact Shaun Pritchard – – or call 01633 644676.  The council’s walking toolkit can be viewed online at:

We are currently seeking to capture the views and experiences of people who have used the Council’s homeless and Housing Options Service.

We value the opinion and feedback of service users about the Housing Options Team’s homeless prevention and homeless service, which will be used to identify opportunities to improve and help inform the development of the service.

We are also keen to identify potential, actual or past service users or people who have experienced the threat of or actual homelessness who would be interested in assisting and getting involved with the Council to help develop the Housing Options Service.

Please note our survey closes on 31st January 2015. We look forward to hearing from you.

MCC’s environmental health officers secured a third successful fly tipping prosecution this year when Mr N J Skinner of Gwent Place, Mardy, Abergavenny pleaded guilty to dumping household waste in nearby Tredilion Lane last June.

Mr Skinner was fined £500 and ordered to pay £450 costs by Newport Magistrates Court on Tuesday 18th November 2014.

David Jones, our Head of Regulatory Services, said: “This hefty fine reflects the general public concern with fly tipping.  There has been a significant decrease in the number of fly tipping incidents in recent years which is a trend we want to see continue.  However, incidents such as these are still occurring and blighting our beautiful environment.  Our officers will continue to investigate these cases and bring culprits to court wherever possible.  Please ensure your waste is disposed of properly – you have a duty of care to ensure that if you give it to someone else to dispose of they are a registered carrier of waste.  If your waste is dumped you could be fined.”

Call Natural Resources Wales on 0300 0653000 or visit to check if a person is a registered waste carrier.

For more information on fly tipping log onto our dedicated web pages:

We talked to you in October about the budget pressures we are facing. Since then we have had some ideas about how we can reduce our costs.

We will have to make some hard decisions to help us meet our savings.

  • Schools: We will hold funding for schools constant, whilst adjusting funding in relation to falling pupil numbers
  • Leisure: Challenging targets for Leisure and cultural services to broaden their offer and increase usage
  • Community Hubs: Blending visible council services such as libraries and One Stop Shops into one venue in each town
  • Adult Social Care: Managing the increasing demand for social care by increasing the capacity for people to sustain independent lives within their own communities
  • Additional Learning Need: Helping children who need extra support in school
  • Waste: Reduce the amount of money we spend on waste collection services whilst continuing to reduce our impact on the environment
  • Highways: Reduce the amount of money we spend on our highways maintenance and focusing on the main routes people use

A full explanation of all of our proposed changes can be found in our reports that were passed by Monmouthshire’s Cabinet 5th November 2014.

We will be coming back to talk to you about this in your towns and communities soon.

If you would like to share your thoughts before then please contact us:



Monmouthshire County Council is to discuss proposals to regulate on-street advertising such as A-boards as well as items like chairs and tables on pavements outside cafes.

The council’s cabinet will meet on December 3rd and will consider a policy designed to create a balance between business interests and ensuring safe public access on the county’s streets.  The council will identify suitable sites where businesses may place advertising safely outside their premises.  To allow them to operate legitimately, businesses will be issued licences by the council’s highways department

The council has engaged widely with local business organisations and access groups to formulate its policy.

In addition, the council will consider a strategy to offer businesses the opportunity to advertise goods and services at carefully selected sites on the county’s highways.  This will be controlled by a licensing system and revenue generated will be used to enhance the sites with bee-friendly flowers, providing much needed wildlife havens and a more attractive roadside verge.

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for Community Development, Councillor Phil Hobson said: “We recognise that a limited amount of advertising and display gives colour and vibrancy to our streets as well as adding to the character and atmosphere of our towns and villages, but the council also has a statutory duty under the Highways Act to allow safe public access.  Our intention is to encourage enterprise while reducing risks to pedestrians and road users”.

Monmouthshire County Council’s libraries will link with pharmacy chain Boots UK to offer beauty advice sessions to support people living with cancer.  The sessions are in conjunction with the council’s Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service and will be held in Abergavenny Library on Friday 5th December from 10.30am to 12noon and in Chepstow Library from 2pm to 4pm the same day.

The side effects of cancer treatment can affect skin, hair and nails and the specially trained Boots Macmillan No 7 beauty advisors will be available to offer expert hints and tips on managing changes which may help to improve self-confidence.  Sessions are free and tea and coffee will be available.

Each library in the county has a Macmillan area with free information on cancer in a variety of formats.  For further details contact Erica Sheppard on 07826 876772 or email:


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Monmouthshire County Council will hold a public consultation event at Caerwent Village Hall on Friday, November 28th from 1pm to 8pm to allow residents, businesses and local organisations the opportunity to discuss a proposed planning application for a solar farm at nearby Crick.

Officers and experts acting on behalf of the council will be available to give information on planning considerations and the design of the five megawatt facility scheduled for Oak Grove Farm.  Five megawatts is the amount of electricity the farm’s solar panels are expected to produce each year – enough energy to power the equivalent of every household in Crick, Portskewett, Sudbrook and Caerwent.

The council will also seek feedback on the management and distribution of a community fund contained within the planning application.  If the application is successful the council will contribute a thousand pounds for each megawatt produced, meaning that the county’s communities could benefit from a sum of approximately five thousand pounds each year.  All profits generated from the scheme would be used to help support the delivery of frontline services across the authority.

The council will review comments from the consultation event before submitting the planning application.

For further information:

 Monmouthshire County Council is to sponsor a 7-a-side rugby tournament for young people to raise awareness about the devastating and far reaching effects of violence against women.  The council is particularly concerned to focus on the younger generation as, according to the British Crime Survey, it’s among the 16 to 24 age range that abuse is most prolific.  The event has been planned in the wake of recent disturbing and harrowing instances of violent behaviour aimed at women.

The tournament will be held in Abergavenny’s Bailey Park at 1pm on Tuesday, November 25th, acknowledged by the United Nations as International Day for the Eliminating Violence Against Women.  It will feature teams aged 16 to 19 from comprehensive schools, private schools and colleges across Gwent and Gloucestershire.  Approximately 100 young people are expected to take part and the public is invited to enjoy a feast of fast moving rugby.  Admission is free.

The council will receive backing from the Newport Gwent Dragons regional rugby team and the Welsh Rugby Union while past and present stars including local resident Scott Quinnell have signalled that they will attend.  Many other organisations including Abergavenny Rugby Club, Coleg Gwent, CHOICES drug and alcohol service, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Women’s Aid, Llamau and Gwent Police have also pledged their support.  In addition, the council’s youth service and youth offending team will help with organisation.

To demonstrate their commitment to the cause the council’s male staff are to be urged to wear a white ribbon on November 25th.  The White Ribbon Campaign was created in direct support of International Day for the Eliminating Violence Against Women to encourage men to actively oppose violence to women and girls by pledging their backing and wearing a white ribbon.  It is led by men who are willing to take a stand and be positive role models to other men in the community.

The team behind the event has created the twitter hashtag: #wrMyhero via @MonmouthshireCC hoping that as many people as possible tweet pictures of themselves with their male heroes and role models.  This aims to promote the event and raise awareness of the issues as well as challenging and changing the community’s approach to violence against women.

The White Ribbon Campaign focuses on the belief that change will only occur when men accept their responsibility to make changes.  This is an opportunity for those men who care about the women in their lives to take responsibility to ensure that women live free from violence and fear.  Traditionally, the burden of working towards ending male violence against women has fallen almost entirely on women.

Monmouthshire County Council achieved the White Ribbon Accreditation Award last July and has already taken steps to recruit White Ribbon Ambassadors.  These are men who are committed to the principles of the White Ribbon Campaign and are positive role models, conveying these principles and important messages to others in the community.  Among those enlisted are Council Leader Peter Fox, Opposition Leader Dimitri Batrouni, Deputy Leader Phil Hobson, all male staff in the council’s youth service and a number of others across all sectors.

Councillor Phil Hobson, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for equalities said: “We are sending a loud and clear message that violence to women and girls is repugnant and there is no place for it in today’s civilised society.  We call upon all other men to make a stand and speak out about this”.

Contact Monmouthshire’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Coordinator Rachel Allen – – for further details.


Monmouthshire County Council has demonstrated that broadcasting meetings live on the internet aids accountability without incurring excessive costs.  The authority’s committees are now directly streamed from its chamber at Usk via the social media channel YouTube, ensuring that online residents can follow the local government agenda from the comfort of their homes while the council avoids expensive fees.

Joanna Goodwin of the council’s digital team was instrumental in setting up the live broadcasts.  Joanna said: “We were asked to transmit from the council chamber so that the county’s residents, businesses and organisations could follow meetings as they happened.  The initial cost of relaying the meetings online appeared prohibitive but employing the YouTube option has saved us up to £180,000 in annual subscriptions as well as set up costs and hosting fees”.

She added: “Our high definition livestreaming has no ongoing costs and works on all devices including mobile phones and tablets.  We wanted to ensure our meetings could be viewed by anyone, anywhere.”

Council Leader Peter Fox added: “Monmouthshire has developed a reputation as a local authority which is keen to engage and bring the processes of local government decision making closer to the people.  We’re pleased that we have made council business more accessible and transparent while delivering live broadcasts at a very affordable cost”.

For further information on livestreaming contact Joanna Goodwin –