RAF supports development of Anglesey Coastal Path

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An agreement was signed last week between the RAF and the Isle of Anglesey County Council to support the development of the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path

The agreement, which was signed by Chairman of the County Council, Gwilym O Jones, and Group Captain Adrian Hill, hopes to nurture joint working between the two organisations to support the Anglesey route.

This is being made possible through the Anglesey Armed Forces Community Covenant which will be signed on 24 May 2012 at RAF Valley, the RAF base on Anglesey which is home to No 4 Flying Training School and a Search and Rescue Flight.

The Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path, a developing 125-mile (201km) route around the island, is about to become part of the All-Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile (1,400km) route from Chepstow to Chester, due to be opened on 5 May 2012.

Around 300,000 people use the Anglesey route every year, generating over £12m for the local economy. With user numbers expected to rise, there will be an increasing need to keep the coastal path in tip-top condition.

This new partnership is the first of its kind for both the MOD and the Isle of Anglesey County Council and forms the basis of the upcoming Community Covenant.

Group Captain Hill said:

This is a prime example of how RAF Valley shows a commitment to conservation in Anglesey and yet more evidence of how we intend to make the Armed Forces Covenant count on the island.

This plan, along with our Community Heritage Centre ideas, will form an exciting route for island visitors to explore. They can expect to see spectacular natural beauty and incredible airborne displays from our pilots.

Councillor Jones added:

The County Council is delighted to form this partnership with RAF Valley, which is a significant employer on the island. This initiative links into the council’s strategic priorities, supporting the economic potential of the island, whilst helping people to enjoy, protect and enhance their local natural environment.

This is an important development in helping ensure the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path continues to be a well-maintained route.

The partnership will begin this month, with specific focus on the section of the coastal path bordering the RAF Valley site between Rhosneigr and Cymyran.

Activities will include checking the route for any problems and the co-ordination of tasks such as path repairs or litter picks bordering the path involving Service personnel and County Council staff in conjunction with stakeholder groups.

Rosie Frankland, Coastal Path Officer for the Isle of Anglesey County Council, commented:

This partnership will have a hugely positive impact on the coastal path in this area. We hope that by jointly working with RAF Valley we can improve the quality of the route, and raise awareness and appreciation of the coastal path and marine environment for the benefit of everybody using it.

We really appreciate all the support we get from a variety of groups. The Friends of the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path are in the process of giving the entire coastal path a spring clean in time for the All-Wales Coast Path opening, and the ‘Silver Slashers’, a sub-group of the Ynys Mon Ramblers, carry out coastal path maintenance work every month.

This new partnership will no doubt support these efforts and open up new opportunities for the coastal path, the RAF and the County Council.