The new 20mph speed limit continues to divide opinion in Gwynedd with some welcoming the slower speed and others fearing it will affect trade and tourism.

Rosy Berry lives in Llanfair near Harlech. She is delighted to see a 20mph sign outside her house and says her neighbours are also pleased.

She told the Cambrian News: “This picture (above) is of chez moi in Llanfair, just south of Harlech. Should have waited until after bin day!

“I live on a junction with a blind bend. I have to pull across this to get to my house and risk meeting oncoming traffic. Only this morning, as I pulled over, a car came round the blind bend. Luckily, at 20mph there was no collision. Hopefully, the days are gone when boy racers – and some girls too – come flying round the blind corner.

“Interestingly, the normally speeding traffic on the 40mph main road seems to have slowed down a bit, too. Long may it last.”

Rosy’s friends in Lower Harlech are delighted with the new speed restrictions there.

“I know Pam has been horrified by people speeding on the main road near her home and has been looking forward to the 20mph becoming law,” said Rosy.

Kevin Williams owns a business in Bontddu. He is not delighted to see a 20mph sign in his village.

He told the Cambrian News he cannot understand why a 20mph sign has been placed near to the entrance to his business, Kevin Williams Ltd Plant Hire, and fears it will affect his trade and that of others in the area.

He said: “I have a plant hire contractor firm and at the top of our drive towards Barmouth there is 20mph sign on the hill going down into the village.

“There’s no school there, and no pub, and the children that live there do not play in the street and out on the road.

“Going down the hill is okay but you have to keep your foot on brake, but coming up the hill with a trailer and a mini digger on the back at 20mph is impossible.

“The hill is steep, and probably about 600m long. You really struggle to get up the hill under 28mph to 30mph unless you are in first gear and if you do that you just create a mass­ive queue behind you.”

Kevin has operated his business in Bontddu since 2006 but has been based there for much longer.

Recalling the history of the road, he said: “It used to be 40mph when we were kids, and then it went down to 30mph. That worked and traffic was more spread out, but we’ve noticed this week that there are massive queues forming. There’s no longer a long steady stream of traffic, but a clog of it.”

Pam Ainsworth Maureen Standright
Thumbs up! Pam Ainsworth and Maureen Standright approve of the 20mph limit in Lower Harlech (Picture supplied)

Commenting on how he thinks it will affect his business, he said: “We’re out on the road every day moving stuff. The 20mph limit is inconvenient.

“If there was a school in the village I would understand it, and there is a 20mph sign at Llanelltyd where our kids go to school. I understand that. And I understand putting a 20mph limit outside hospitals, but not here.

“There’s nothing here to warrant 20mph in our village. It’s heartbreaking, and the more people I speak to, the more they agree. Some people have said that noise pollution from traffic is less but otherwise no-one can understand why we have a sign here and I will be asking our local councillor to see if the decision to limit the speed here can be reversed.”

He added: “It’s hard to know quite what the effect will be on the business. The 20mph stretch is only a short distance but it’s going to slow us down and cost us in time and, I think, money.

“We’ve also got a caravan site, Tyn-twll Farm Caravan Park, and there’s one owned by someone else at the other end of the village and people who come to stay often moan about the speed camera van in the village catching them and sending them fines. I can see that happening more now, which might put people off visiting and we rely on tourists.

“And it will also take people longer to get here with all the 20mph roads across Wales. Perhaps that will also become a reason to stop visiting us.”

Dwyfor Meirionnydd MS Mabon ap Gwynfor is in favour of the 20mph speed limit.

He said: “Too many people – especially children – are severely injured or killed on our roads.

“Back in 2018 1,137 people were killed or severely injured on our roads, and 40 per cent of these were on 30mph roads.

“The data is as painful as it is tragic, especially to the families and loved ones of those who are killed or whose lives are changed forever.

“Furthermore, the evidence is clear that deaths and injuries fall dramatically on 20mph roads. To show the effectiveness of this, at the point that a car travelling 20mph stops, a 30mph car would still be travelling at 24mph, leading to accidents and deaths.

“As a parent of four children the decision to support steps to save lives was easy. I regularly receive communication from communities across my constituency calling for 20mph speed limits in order to improve safety, and so it’s clear to me that others feel the same as I do and they want safer roads and less accidents.

“However, there will be some roads where a slower speed limit does not make sense, and that’s why we passed an amendment recently calling for a continuous review of the roads so that we can be confident that any roads that might not need a slower speed limit are reviewed and changed accordingly.”