Torfaen (//; Welsh: Torfaen [tɔrˈvaɪn]) is a county borough in the south-east of Wales. Torfaen is bordered by the county of Monmouthshire to the east, the city of Newport to the south, and the county boroughs of Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent to the south-west and north-west respectively. It is within the historic boundaries of the historic county of Monmouthshire, and between 1974 and 1996 was a district of Gwent, until it was reconstituted as a principal area in 1996.
Torfaen County Borough
Bwrdeistref Sirol Torfaen
|• Type||Torfaen County Borough Council|
|• Total||126 km2 (49 sq mi)|
|• Rank||Ranked 20th|
|• Rank||Ranked 18th|
|• Density||734/km2 (1,900/sq mi)|
|• Rank||Ranked 3rd|
|• Ethnicity||98% White|
|• Rank||Ranked 19th|
|• Any skills||14.5%|
|ISO 3166 code||GB-TOF|
Torfaen (meaning "breaker of stones") is an old name for the river – today called Afon Lwyd ("grey river") – which flows through the county borough from its source north of Blaenavon southward through Abersychan, Pontypool, and Cwmbran. The last three towns mentioned are a contiguous urban area.
The area has a population of around 91,000. Much of the southern part of the county borough around Cwmbran is extensively urban. The north of the county borough is greener and retains extensive areas of countryside, especially on the route to Blaenavon.
The highest point of the county is Coity Mountain.
Torfaen has its own community radio station, Vitalize Radio, which is run entirely on a voluntary basis to serve the community. There is also the Cwmbran and District Amateur Radio Society, and Able Radio, who supports adults with autism and learning disabilities.
There are also various local community news services notably Inside Torfaen and Cwmbran Life whilst the South Wales Argus serves as the main newspaper.
Torfaen is historically a safe Labour Party seat. At present the MP is Nick Thomas-Symonds. Constituents in Croesyceiliog North, Croesyceiliog South, Llanyrafon North and Llanyrafon South wards are served by the Monmouth MP, Conservative David Davies. Torfaen is also a Senedd constituency, presided over by Labour MS, Lynne Neagle.
Torfaen Council has historically been a Labour-controlled authority, however the 2008 Local Elections saw Labour fail to win enough seats to hold a majority, resulting in a coalition with Plaid Cymru and Independent Councillors.
In the 2022 Local Elections, Labour regained majority control of Torfaen County Borough Council, winning 30 out of a possible 40 seats.
Secondary schools in the area are:
Further education, vocational training and some higher education is provided at Torfaen Learning Zone of Coleg Gwent in Cwmbran centre. Before this, further education was provided at the Pontypool campus
In 2012 Torfaen County Borough Council was criticised for keeping 2,400 laptop computers, originally intended to be used by secondary school pupils and teachers, unused for at least a year "because it couldn't figure out what to do" with the equipment, which originally cost over a million pounds.
The borough is served by the Welsh Marches Line with stations at Pontypool & New Inn and Cwmbran. Services are operated by Transport for Wales. There is also the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway in Blaenavon.