New canal plan approved

Posted on: Tuesday 21 November 2023

Councillors have approved a new 10-year plan to protect and improve the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in Torfaen. 

The strategy, which was developed in partnership with canal groups and in consultation with the public, was backed by cabinet members earlier today.

The plan focuses on five key areas: sustainable maintenance and management; leisure and travel; community and partnership; resilient heritage and restoration and navigation to Cwmbran Town Centre by 2034.

A Canal Management Plan will also be drawn up to focus on what needs to be done to maintain the canal in the short-term.

Councillor Joanne Gauden, Executive Member for Regeneration said: "The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is widely regarded as one of the most scenic waterways in the UK. 

"It's hugely valued by local residents who use it for exercise, leisure and travel and it also attracts thousands of visitors to the borough every year. This strategy will help to achieve the council's aims to connect communities, protect the local environment and heritage, support local businesses .

"It will also protect and develop the canal's potential for future generations."

In November 2022, 1,200 people took part in a survey about the canal - 93 per cent said they valued it for its wildlife and connection to nature, 72 per cent said the canal's history was important and 65 per cent said they felt the canal was part of the character of Torfaen.

The new strategy is set out in three phases, with the first focusing on establishing a sustainable water source to enable the navigable section to be extended.

Each phase has its own action plan, including establishing a volunteer programme to support our existing canal groups, a heritage asset register to prioritise remedial work and an annual programme of community events within the first year. 

The Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal comprises 35 miles of navigable canal from Brecon to Five Locks Basin in Cwmbran, a further 7 miles of unnavigable canal to Newport on the main line, and 7 miles to Cwmcarn on the Crumlin Arm.

The canal has multiple owners along its length. The northern section is owned and managed by Glandŵr Cymru - the Canal and River Trust in Wales, while the section south of Pontypool is in the ownership of the respective local authorities – Torfaen, Newport, and Caerphilly.

Visit Torfaen Council's website for more information about the canal strategy.

Last Modified: 21/11/2023 Back to top