Senior fire and rescue officers say response times will be affected by the default 20mph speed limit in Wales.

Whilst firefighters can exceed the speed limit in fire engines, those travelling to fire stations in a private vehicle must abide by the 20mph law.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s head of response Paul Jenkinson said: “The reduction in speed to 20mph may cause a slight delay in our response times to incidents.

“However, given the exemption from the speed limits in law, fire appliances (engines) can go above the speed limit.”

This same opinion was delivered by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s assistant chief fire officer Stuart Millington.

Mr Millington said: “In terms of the 20mph speed limit, that’s a complex subject in its own right with lots of opinion and debate that we are already aware of.

“We did provide a consultation response in relation to the 20mph response, and it was debated, and we provide information on what that would mean for reduced response times for on-call firefighters.

“Of course, whole-time firefighters have exemptions. When we are in a fire engine, we can exceed speed limits. But when our staff are responding from their home address or from work to the fire station, then they do have to apply to those 20mph restrictions.

“So we did provide feedback and make our representations, but ultimately we have to apply the law.”

Meanwhile, the fire service is reassessing its resources and how it can get to rural areas sooner, but the proposed reorganisation could mean reducing cover in other areas by cutting 24-hour service in favour of day cover and reducing equipment.

Fire officers presented three different options to councillors, including one which would see Conwy’s fire station closed together with those at Llanberis, Beaumaris, Abersoch, and Cerrigydrudion. A public consultation on the matter has now ended, and a final decision is expected in December.

Mr Millington said the decision would be made by fire authority members but added public opinion was strong. He said: “I think the fire authority members – and this is a members’ decision not an officer decision – felt that with the economic climate being as it was, it was only right and proper to include an option that saved some money. And the kind of money that needed to be saved could only be achieved by including options that included station closures.

“So the authority members wanted to consult the public on that. I think that it’s been very clear from the consultations that have taken place in those station areas what the strength of feeling is from the public in those five station areas, and that’ll certainly be taken on board by fire authority members when they reconvene to debate this issue. ”