B4245 Rogiet to Undy active travel scheme – FAQ
The Rogiet to Undy B4245 active travel scheme aims to improve journeys between Rogiet and Undy. Several route options have been examined and, whilst additional routes may be developed in the future, a proposed primary route consisting of a shared use active travel path adjacent to the southern side of the B4245 has been assessed to provide the shortest, most direct active travel route between Rogiet and Undy. Detailed designs of this preferred option have been prepared for public consultation.
The red box on this image shows the section of the B4245 between Rogiet and Undy that is the subject of this scheme
The current B4245 between Undy and Rogiet has no pavement provision. Previous studies along this route have highlighted the need for safe pedestrian and cycle provision, to link into Severn Tunnel Junction railway station and across the Severnside area.
Rogiet and Undy are just over a mile apart, a distance that could be covered using a mobility scooter in half an hour or cycled in less than ten minutes. An active travel route along this section of the B4245 will allow residents of both villages to benefit from the facilities and opportunities offered by their neighbouring villages, without needing access to a car.
219 people examined the proposals and responded to our consultation, either at the in-person event on October 4th 2023 or online. Rogiet Community Council and Magor Town Council submitted comments separately.
B4245 Rogiet-Undy active travel path (Phase 1)
96% of people consulted were ‘very-‘ or ‘quite supportive’ of the proposed Rogiet to Undy active travel path, which is as expected given that there is currently no direct, accessible link for active travel. Many urgently want to have the option of active travel and find existing provision inadequate. The vast majority said the proposed improvements would influence their modal choice for local trips.
Comments focused on the potential for the proposed active travel path to be a safe, accessible, practical, sustainable, healthy, and affordable option. It is seen as a much-needed link ‘for all’ between communities. There was concern from some about the proximity of the path to the B4245, the potential for conflict between path users, the path’s impact on local biodiversity and the possibility of traffic congestion or loss of road width. We will address these concerns through design, applying best practice and analysis of impact to the local setting. Please see the FAQ’s section below for further details.
This route is seen as a step in connecting Magor and Undy to Severn Tunnel Junction, Caldicot and further afield. A typical comment said: ‘This is a plan that will benefit the residents and visitors of the related areas, and promoting more environmentally friendly travel modes, e.g., combined of walking/cycling and train instead of driving.’
Station Road (Phase 2)
Over half of people consulted travel along Station Road to get to public transport (Severn Tunnel Junction railway station) and the majority frequently use the route for purposeful journeys. Most said that wider pavements and general improvements to the active travel infrastructure would encourage them to walk and/or cycle along Station Road, where currently more than three quarters of people consulted mainly drive along it.
Rogiet to Caldicot proposed AT route (Phase 3)
92% of respondents said ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Would you support Phase 3 Rogiet to Caldicot Active Travel route section?’
What is active travel?
Active Travel is a term used to describe walking, wheeling or cycling to a destination (also called “purposeful journeys”). It does not cover walking and cycling done purely for leisure although it could significantly enhance leisure activities by helping to link up networks. Active travel can be used to get to school, work, services and shops, or as one of several modes on a longer journey – for example, walking to the station to catch a bus or train. Monmouthshire County Council’s active travel strategy focuses on journeys of three miles or less, which means improving walking and cycling infrastructure within communities and between close-by villages such as Rogiet and Undy, to make active travel the first natural choice for local journeys.
Why focus on the B4245 between Rogiet and Undy?
The need for improvements in this part of Monmouthshire was highlighted during Monmouthshire County Council’s Integrated Network Map submission to the Welsh Government in 2018. The existing options for active travel between Rogiet and Undy (approximately 1,700 and 4,000 inhabitants, respectively) are limited and inaccessible to various users, due to high traffic speeds and volume, and a lack of barrier-free and safe paths.
Several options for an active travel link between Rogiet and Undy have been examined and a proposed primary route consisting of a shared use active travel path adjacent to the southern side of the B4245 has been assessed to provide the shortest, most direct option.
The proposed route between Rogiet and Undy is an important link in the wider walking and cycling network. A short and direct active travel route will open up healthy, affordable and sustainable access to services, schools and job opportunities in the two villages, as well as connecting local people and visitors to the existing foot- and cycleways in the Severnside area, bus services along the B4245 and rail services to further afield.
Levels of active travel are lower in Rogiet and Undy compared to Monmouthshire as a whole. At the same time, the proportion of residents in the local area who drive a car or van is higher than Monmouthshire as a whole (Census 2021). The 2021 Census also indicated that Magor and Rogiet has a high proportion (63.7%) of working-age residents who are likely to travel regularly to commute and therefore would directly benefit from improved access to Caldicot and Severn Tunnel Junction Railway Station.
A study of potential options for active travel improvements in the area concluded that a three-metre wide, shared-use path to the southern side of the B4245 between Rogiet and Undy is the preferred option. Projects such as this one are usually progressed over several years from concept through to detailed design, following the Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance or WelTAG (see below). Projects are then dependent on the approval of funding from bodies such as Welsh Government for the construction phase. We are currently at the detailed design stage of the process (WelTAG Stage 3).
As the preferred route is to be for active travel, the process has been based on the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Act Guidance that was published in July 2021. This includes the application of walking and cycling audit tools as well as standards that active travel routes should adhere to.
At the start of this project and in line with the Welsh Transport Appraisal process the project team developed a wide list of possible solutions, sufficient to be able to decide whether there are any scheme options worth pursuing and to select a short list of options for more detailed consideration. Options were shortlisted based on:
- their ability to prevent, or solve the problem now and in the future;
- their ability to meet the objectives set and improve the social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being of Wales;
- their short- and longer-term impacts to deliver multiple benefits across the four aspects of well-being and maximise contribution to all seven well-being goals;
- their deliverability; and
- their robustness to uncertainty and potential to drive long lasting change.
The proposed scheme will seek approval and funding from the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund and has therefore been developed in line with the Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance (WelTAG). The WelTAG process covers the complete lifecycle of a proposed intervention in the transport system from assessment of the problem, consideration of possible solutions and scheme design, through to implementation and project evaluation.
WelTAG studies are an essential part of major transport projects in Wales to help decide which are the most appropriate solutions to develop, and important in the support of bids to Welsh Government for funding grants to complete the works. WelTAG involves a series of project planning stages that follow the life of a project, programme or policy from early ideas to after it is completed. There are five WelTAG stages: Stages 1 and 2 of the project were completed in August 2022, and we are currently at WelTAG Stage 3.
The Rogiet to Undy route (phase 1, shown here as a green line) will complement other Severnside area proposed active travel improvements that Monmouthshire County Council are currently investigating as phases 2 and 3 of this project (red line and blue line, respectively). Phase 2 will focus of developing active travel improvements along Station Road in Rogiet to encourage walking and cycling journeys to Seven Tunnel Junction train station. Phase 3 will progress proposals to continue this route from the train station travelling east, to Caldicot, with the potential to link to National Cycle Network route (NCN) 4 at Station Road in Caldicot.
When will the route be constructed?
The successful completion of the WelTAG Stage 3, providing a full business case including detailed designs and delivery information, will allow us to apply for funding to move to WelTAG Stage 4 (construction phase). Monmouthshire County Council could request funding to progress this scheme as early as next financial year (2024/2025), dependent upon progress of designs and securing permissions.
How will the scheme be funded?
The route will be funded through Welsh Government grants aimed at improvements to sustainable transport modes.
Why is the route on the south side of the road?
The settlements of Undy and Rogiet are both predominantly on the south side of the B4245, this alignment of the route will reduce the number of road crossings required, improving the route coherence. In addition, an active travel route is better accommodated on the south side of the M4 underpass due to the cattle pass on the north side of the road.
Why is the route alongside the road?
Alternative route alignments were considered in the provisional studies for the route, these were discounted due to either public opinion or technical feasibility. The route alongside the road was seen to be a positive for personal safety due to the visible security of others passing.
The B4245 is a busy road, and a buffer will be provided where possible between this shared use route and the carriageway. This follows the design principles set out in the Active Travel Design Guidance: https://www.gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2022-01/active-travel-act-guidance.pdf
Why can’t cyclists use the road or the NCN route?
This scheme aims to make it possible for a wider range of people to comfortably and safely reach local destinations using active travel. While cycling (as opposed to walking) makes up a higher percentage of active travel around Rogiet and Undy, overall active travel levels are low in the area.
The National Cycle Network section (NCN4) that joins Undy and Rogiet is an indirect route that is largely unlit and unsealed, making it either impractical or unsuitable for a diversity of people to use active travel between Rogiet and Undy.
The proposed shared use active travel path alongside the B4245, a wide single surface, would accommodate a wider range of active travel modes. The path is designed for use by pedestrians and people using wheelchairs and mobility scooters, as well as those on bikes and larger/adaptive cycles. Though some people currently cycle on this section of the B4245, the speed and volume of traffic – as well as the presence of heavy goods vehicles – makes it unlikely that most people will choose to cover this short, direct route by active travel unless a separated path is provided.
What is a ‘shared use active travel path’?
A shared use path is a path for use by any mode of active travel, be it walking, wheeling or cycling, without any physical separating features or markings. Cars and motorbikes are not permitted on a shared use path. The proposed shared use path is designed as three metres wide, with the exception of the section of the M4 overbridge where slight narrowing may be necessary. The route will be lit and separated from the road traffic.
Shared use paths are recommended in the Active Travel Act guidance for inter-urban roads such as the B4245 between Rogiet and Undy, where the number of users of different modes is unlikely to reach a level where separate provision – and the consequent environmental, land, materials and cost impact – would be justified. Routes with a wide single surface are better able to accommodate larger cycles, such as those used by disabled people, and people in wheelchairs. Shared use paths allow for flexible use depending on the time of day – for example, cyclists may be the majority group during the weekday peak, and pedestrians and those using mobility scooters during daytimes and at the weekend.
Shared use routes are designed to provide sufficient space so that cyclists can comfortably overtake groups of pedestrians and slower cyclists, in accordance with Active Travel Act guidance. Illegal use of active travel paths by people on motorbikes and e-scooters is a police matter and should be duly reported by calling 111.
How does this affect plans for a Magor & Undy Walkway station?
Monmouthshire County Council is supportive of plans for Magor and Undy Walkway Station as it will encourage and support active travel, help the modal switch from road to rail and lead to a reduction in carbon emissions and air pollution in the area. The meantime addition of an active travel route between Undy and Rogiet complements plans for a walkway station, offering the option of car-free trips and embedding the choice of active travel and sustainable transport in local people’s travel habits.
Is there enough space, will greenery be removed and will the road be narrowed?
The proposed active travel route will require the redesign of parts of the road and verge, and the acquisition of slivers of land from private landowners. The current road width varies along this portion, the scheme will make the road a consistent width of six and a half metres, which is the current minimum width of the road.
Monmouthshire County Council’s land team will engage with the landowners if approval for the scheme allows progress to this stage. The relevant landowners have already been contacted by the ecology team who required permission to enter private land to carry out ecology surveys in preparation for this scheme.
Where necessary, verges, hedges and field boundaries will be re-designed, along with field accesses and walls. The redesign includes the translocation or replacement planting of hedges and trees. Ensuring that the scheme brings a net benefit to biodiversity is fundamental of Monmouthshire County Council and a requirement for Welsh Government funding of the scheme. The scheme will be appropriately assessed for ecological constraints and opportunities as part of the active travel project. Monmouthshire County Council’s Green Infrastructure team will work closely with the project team to ensure that impacts are minimised and opportunities are maximised to contribute towards nature recovery.
If you would like to contact the project team, please email ActiveTravel@monmouthshire.gov.uk
New draft Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance (not yet adopted)
Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance 2017
Active Travel Design guidance
Llwybr Newydd – The Wales Transport Strategy 2021
Monmouthshire Community and Corporate Plan
This post is also available in: Welsh