Stretches of one of the UK’s most scenic driving routes will be exempted from the 20mph speed limit which comes into force on Sunday. Fears about the impact on mountain rescue teams means stretches of the A4086 between Nant Peris and Llanberis, will remain at 30mph.
A majority of councillors on Cyngor Gywnedd. planning committee this week backed an exemption, to keep the limit at 30mph, although one Caernarfon councillor, Gareth Coj Parry who lost his brother in a road traffic accident voted against the proposal.
Council officer Iwan ap Trefor told the meeting on Monday that objections had been received about lowering the 30mph limit on sections of the A4086 in Llanberis and Nant Peris.
Officers had recommended keeping the speed restriction at 30mph on the road near Pentre Castell and between the Nant Peris “park and ride” and Pont Gwastadnant.
Llanberis Community Council had wanted the limit lowered as it was “supportive” of the proposal to reduce maximum speeds to 20mph. As a consequence it had requested that Cyngor Gwynedd adapt the 20mph maximum speed zones at Llanberis – from the direction of Llanberis, to extend the 20mph zone through the area of Pentre Castell, in the direction of Nant Peris to the end of the current 30mph zone.
At Nant Peris it requested, from the direction of Llanberis, to extend the 20mph zone in the direction of Bwlch Llanberis up to Pont Gwastadnant. Remaining at 30mph from Pont Gwastadnant to the end of the current 30mph zone.
But planning officers had responded to Llanberis Community Council saying they believed at Pentre Castell, the section of the road should remain at 30mph, arguing:
“Because, the road is a class 1 road (A road, the number of houses on the side of the road is fewer than 20 buildings/km and the houses that do not have a private access from the main road were only on one side of the road.”
At Nant Peris, officers had felt “this part of the road should remain at 30mph, also because; the road is a class 1 road, the number of houses on the side of the road was fewer than 20 buildings/km.
It had also considered the “impact on emergency services (Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team) do not have the right to drive above the speed restrictions in an emergency.”
The committee voted to back the officers recommendation, and to keep the speed restriction at 30mph on the road near Pentre Castell and between the Nant Peris “park and ride” and Pont Gwastadnant.
A council report stated “The Restricted Roads (20mph Speed Limit) (Wales) Order presented by the Welsh Government is controversial.
“Officers, therefore, are keen to keep restrictions at 30mph in appropriate areas to reduce the impact of the Order.
“In accordance with the Welsh Government’s guidelines, we would like to reduce the restriction’s impact on our strategic network, especially in locations with a low housing density.”
Iwan ap Trefor described how an interactive map had been developed on the council website.
On the map, “At Pentre Castell, on the A4086 at Llanberis everything coloured orange will change to 20 mph, but the sections coloured red out of Nant Peris, we are eager to introduce an order to keep that at 30mph.” He said.
“The second, objection was at Nant Peris, on the plan in the middle of the village it will be 20mph, but the road out of the village when you pass the car park, towards Pen Y Pass, that long section of road will be 30pm. ”
In a vote, proposed by Cllr Louise Hughes, seconded by Anne Lloyd Jones, the committee members followed the officers’ recommendations, and voted 12 in favour, no abstentions and two against.
Cllr Gareth Coj Parry had deeply personal reasons for voting against, as his brother was killed when he was struck by a car outside the Eagles in Caernarfon. He said: “For me personally, keep it at 20 – you are only a few seconds later in your journey. If you are so worried about it, start your journey earlier.”