North West Wales

Noise and congestion concerns over Snowdonia events

Fell runners taking part in the Peris Horseshoe Race in Llanberis Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fell runners taking part in the Peris Horseshoe Race in Llanberis in 2013

A growth in the number of commercial sporting events held in a Snowdonia village has led to concerns about noise and congestion.

Llanberis and Padarn country park, at the foot of Snowdon, have become popular for adventure sports.

But some residents claim the industry has caused "real issues."

Event organisers dispute the claims, and while Gwynedd council said there were challenges, it maintained the events brought "economic benefits".

Founder of the volunteer-run Snowdon Race and Llanberis community centre secretary Ken Jones said there were now too many events held, and called for a limit on participant numbers.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Llanberis pass is popular with cyclists, and in 2013 hosted the Tour of Britain

"There are positives and negatives. But they are creating real issues for people who live in the village. There are now events almost every second weekend in the summer.

"They have loudspeakers going all morning over the weekend. The community and village can't cope with the parking," he said.

"The road closing is also an issue - it causes a lot of congestion."

In 2016, about 444,000 people walked up Snowdon.

Some residents also said they were being prevented from using the council-owned Cae'r Ddol playing fields, which are hired out for use by events.

Stephen Edwards, coordinator of Hwb Eryri (Snowdon Hub) and organiser of the Snowdon Race, said while he welcomed the industry, it needed to be" better controlled".

"Having 800 or 900 people taking part is too much. We would never take more than 700, because it is common sense," he added.

Image copyright Google

Gwynedd council said despite the challenges of balancing the needs of the community, there were economic benefits to holding the events.

The council said: "The fields of Cae'r Ddol are of significant importance and instrumental in ensuring the success of these events which attract a significant number of visitors to the area every year.

"The increase in visitor numbers and the increase in local participation in such events is of benefit to the local economy.

"The council does aim to ensure that the field is made available without a fee for local use, or for important community activities and events arranged by local volunteers such as the International Snowdon Race."

A spokeswoman for the Snowdonia National Park Authority said the events needed to be "well managed" and "not detrimental".

She added: "In the authority's experience, most events occur with few difficulties and lines of communication are well established with most organisers following the National Park's guidelines and advice."

Community donations

York-based Rat Race, which runs the Man vs Mountain event, donate to mountain rescue teams and the air ambulance.

Managing director Jim Mee said: "85% of people who take part come from outside the area.

"We deliberately get people to register on a Friday for the Saturday event so they stay in the area. It is significant in terms of bed nights and we use local businesses for our after event party.

"We use the playing field, but deliberately keep off the marked football field. We mitigate against any damage that is caused by making a payment to the council.

"I don't really accept that we are a massive noise nuisance."

The Enter the Dragon obstacle race, which is run from north Wales, also donates to community services and said it tried to "work with the community as closely as possible", and tried to use local firms where possible.

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