Vehicles parked illegally in Snowdonia face being towed away to avoid repeat of “chaotic” scenes
Vehicles parked illegally in Snowdonia face being towed away, police have warned in the wake of chaotic scenes in the national park at the weekend.
More bus services are to be laid on, and extra staff will be deployed to prevent a repeat of what happened on Sunday, when hundreds of vehicles parked on the Pen-y-Pass and made it unpassable for motorists.
On weekends the car park at Pen-y-pass will be a drop-off site for buses and taxis only. Park bosses hope this will reinforce the message that walkers should park in Llanberis and Nant Peris and use the regular Sherpa bus services.
180 vehicles were given fixed penalty notices for blocking traffic on the A4086 on Sunday, with images flooding social media showing over 500 cars parked along the side of the mountain road as visitors flocked to the peak of yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).
As result, the National Park has joined agencies including Gwynedd Council and North Wales Police to try and prevent similar scenes over the coming weeks.
The new emergency measures from Saturday include more frequent services for the Sherpa bus service – which links the area’s main car parks with the various summit paths – running every 15 minutes between 6.45am and 6.40pm, with walkers asked to use the service to access Pen-y-pass.
Meanwhile, staff from Gwynedd Council, the Snowdonia National Park and North Wales Police will be on duty to remind motorists of their responsibilities and signs warning they are liable to be towed away by the police, with cones also placed to discourage parking on the highway.
The move has been welcomed by local politicians, who have praised agencies for finding the “practical short term solution” in light of the “dangerous scenes” witnessed along parts of the A4086.’”
The leader of Gwynedd Council, Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, said: “Our message for people who intend to visit Snowdonia is to plan in advance before they set-off so that they can do so safely and responsibly.
“We’re urging motorists to make full use of the car-parking facilities available at Nant Peris and Llanberis as well as at nearby Pen-y-gwryd and to check theNational Park’s website for up-to-date details of their car parks.
“Walkers are also encouraged to use the regular Sherpa bus service, which will help us to control the traffic on these narrow mountain routes and avoid dangerous situations which we saw last weekend.
“The fact is that motorists like those who parked illegally at Pen-y-pass endanger the lives of other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and cause serious access issues for emergency service vehicles, including mountain rescue volunteers.
“We want people to be able to enjoy our stunning mountain ranges safely. Those who ignore the message by parking illegally on the highway on Snowdonia’s mountain passes will face an on-the-spot fine or even being towed away by police.”
Emyr Williams, Chief Executive of Snowdonia National Park Authority, added: “These urgent measures will help to tackle the immediate challenge and we will continue to monitor and adapt as matters progresses.
“Such a situation confirms the urgency required of further progress the existing partnership work on developing a sustainable alpine style model of transport, which involves a radical re-think in the way the area is experienced by visitors and local residents.
“The report on the work will be published soon.”
Superintendent Neil Thomas, North Wales Police went on to say,: “We are working closely with our colleagues at Gwynedd Council and the National Park to help reduce the risk to walkers, cyclists and other road users.
“The measures have been put in place to maximise public safety. This is a 60mph area and the irresponsible and dangerous parking we saw last weekend not only risked lives but also would have prevented emergency vehicle access.
“Whilst we appreciate that people are getting out and about more now that the travel restrictions have lifted, we are urging people to be responsible and think about where they park and to make full use of the park and ride facilities that are available.
“Anybody found to be parked on the clearway or causing an obstruction will have their vehicle removed at their own expense. Please heed the warning.”
In a joint statement, Hywel Williams MP, Sian Gwenllian MS and Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “Whilst we hope these new measures will provide short-term relief, there must now be concerted efforts by all parties to bring forward a workable, lasting solution to mitigate the local pressures associated with an ever-increasing number of visitors to Eryri.
“We will be engaging constructively in further discussions over the coming weeks and months to explore sustainable solutions which balances the needs of our communities, local economy, the natural environment and visitors.”
By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter
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