SHROPSHIRE County Council have signed a “groundbreaking” agreement with other border councils to tackle challenges together.

On November 10, Shropshire Council signed an agreement with councils from Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and Powys, allowing them to work closely together with both UK and Welsh governments to make progress on their cross-border collaboration.

The agreement, called the Marches Forward Partnership, was signed on an official event held at Hay Castle on the Welsh and English border.

Between the four councils of Powys, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and Shropshire, the organisations cover at least 80 percent of the English/Welsh borderlands.

The partnership will involve working jointly to secure funding support from both governments as well as with a wide range of other partners to unlock more investment and explore new approaches to make major projects that benefit the area, aiming to unlock millions of pounds for identified initiatives.

Transport, skills and housing, alongside energy, climate change, tourism and digital connectivity are reportedly high on the agenda, as the councils hope the partnership will allow them to work on common issues for the area’s 750,000 population.

They claim that the partnership will provide all four councils a unique commitment to work cross border, cross country and cross party on major projects that are in the overall best interests of the region.

Councillor James Gibson-Watt, Leader of Powys County Council, said: “We are really enthusiastic about what we can achieve by working together. 

“In our planning stages we are already benefiting from stronger links between authorities, as well as improved partnerships with both familiar and new organisations.  People want to talk to us and that’s a fantastic start.

“These are very early days but we’ve already agreed that each authority will lead on different themes and our asks to government will be evidence-led and community focused. It’s so important that we focus on where we can make the biggest difference and we move at pace from turning ambitions into actions.”

“As a partnership we have so much in common and I’m excited about what the future holds.”