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Monmouthshire County Council has reaffirmed that Active Travel remains a key priority in its response to climate change as its officers gave an update last week on the progress of the proposed schemes. This is also in line with the Welsh Government Transport hierarchy of walking and cycling as the preferred first choice, then public transport, then ultra-low emission/electric vehicles, then other vehicles.

The purpose of Active Travel is to provide a network of routes, initially focusing on the seven designated localities – Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow, Gilwern, Magor/Undy, Monmouth and Usk – to provide opportunities to exchange shorter purposeful car journeys for more active modes of transport, such as walking, cycling and wheeling. The focus is not on walking and cycling for leisure, but improved routes will help this as well.

Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member for Active Travel, Cllr Lisa Dymock said: “Following our recent Active Travel Network Map Consultation a designated Active Travel crossing over the River Wye between Monmouth and Wyesham was identified as one of the highest priority improvements for residents right across Monmouthshire. The creation of a safer route for pedestrians and cyclists separate to the Wye Bridge would be of benefit to so many residents and commuters. Work continues on this project, including establishing the connectivity to and from the bridge, which will be an important part of its longer-term success.

“Funding for the next steps of development, including planning permission and detailed design, has been sought and Monmouthshire County Council will find out shortly whether this has been successful. This scheme will create an off-road link to key facilities on either side of the bridge, such as educational, health and retail destinations and will link the community of Wyesham safely to Monmouth town.”

As part of this year’s Active Travel Funding, the second of three phases of the Williamsfield Lane to Kingswood Gate Active Travel link route in Overmonnow is being constructed, which includes a new play park at King’s Fee as part of the delivery. This Active Travel route is a key safe route to Overmonnow Primary School, separating those walking, cycling and wheeling away from vehicular traffic. The contractors are currently on site and this phase will be completed by the end of the current financial year.  As part of the project Active Travel has also funded increased infrastructure at Overmonnow Primary School, to be used by pupils looking to gain access to the rear entrance of the school and safely store their bike / scooter for the duration of the school day. The final phase is scheduled to be completed next year, subject to successful funding applications.

Meanwhile, council officers are working closely with schools to promote the production of School Travel Plans. The council’s budget proposals for 22/23 include the creation of an additional post to review school walking and cycling routes and make recommendations for safety improvements where needed. Further details on the progress of the Active Travel schemes will be added to the council’s website as they are announced.

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