Ten councils are to develop plans for a combined authority in South East Wales, in a bid to change the way local government operates.
If approved, the authority will allow the councils to work strategically together on decisions regarding economic development, transport and planning. The proposal does not impact on the current policy of merging councils in the country.
Cllr Bob Wellington CBE, Leader of Torfaen and the Welsh Local Government Association, said: 'The debate on the form and function of local government is moving rapidly in Wales, and this agreement demonstrates how local councils are exploring innovative new ways of doing business that will offer communities a settled and lasting outcome that is fit for purpose now and into the future.
‘Whatever the final shape and number of councils in Wales once Welsh Government merger plans come to fruition, the new councils will still need to work closely together to improve the effectiveness of public services.’
The ten councils are Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan Councils. They will now discuss the proposal with regional partners and the Welsh Government.