MONMOUTHSHIRE County Council has confirmed that, unfortunately, due to the ongoing unseasonably cold spell, it is not yet possible to commence the stabilisation works above the A466 at Wyndcliff. The works cannot go ahead until conditions are met as set out in the European Protected Species licence, which protects the bat colony at the site. Any deviations in this approach would breach wildlife legislation and the licence must therefore be adhered to.
While the A466 Wyndcliff site is set up and work ready to commence, the licence requires seven consecutive nights with temperatures at or exceeding 8oC to allow hibernating bats to leave their roosts. On-site temperature monitoring stations are being inspected regularly and work will commence as soon as possible once the terms of the licence have been met. It is currently anticipated that the works should be able to start on Tuesday 4th May 2021, with the road closure commencing on that day. However, this is subject to the conditions above.
The council is also working with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to bring forward a one-day road closure on Bargain Wood Road, currently scheduled for 4 May 2021, to minimise any potential conflict. Updates on all the roadworks will be issued should any of the dates change.
Monmouthshire County Council officers are holding frequent meetings with the ecologist and contractors on the project to discuss the situation and revise the timetable. The collapsed rock face and cave system above have been confirmed as providing important bat species a roosting site to hibernate throughout the winter.
A spokesperson for Monmouthshire Council said:
“Figures suggest that this is the coldest April since 1980. Unfortunately, the unseasonably cold weather has delayed the commencement of works, because we must comply with the terms of our bat licence. We hope to commence the works on Tuesday 4th May and will confirm this as soon as possible. It is hoped that the road closure will be removed prior to the second May bank holiday weekend.”
Throughout the road closure period – now expected to be a four-week period from 4th May – a full diversion will be in place allowing traffic to travel between Chepstow and Tintern. Drivers are asked to follow the diversion signs and not rely on satnav, as many of the local lanes are very narrow with limited opportunities for vehicles to pass. Cyclists will still be able to use the A466 during the closure.
For the latest information visit: monmouthshire.gov.uk/a466