Suggestion from Farmers Union of Wales
A permit-driven quota scheme has been suggested by an executive from the Farmers Union of Wales to help combat the environmental impact from Snowdon’s visitors.
The idea is not just about mountain bikers. Indeed somewhat typically mountain bikers aren’t explicitly mentioned at all. The limit is suggested for all walkers and outdoors enthusiasts who venture on to Snowdon.
Mountain bikers are already subject to an unique voluntary access agreement/ban which sees bikes banned from the Snowdon bridleways during the main hours of the day from May to September.
Around 600,000 people head to the top of Snowdon every year and the resulting impact on the paths is becoming an ever-present issue for land managers and farmers.
According to the Daily Post, the Snowdonia National Park spends £250,000 a year on path maintenance but “still faces an annual £150,000 shortfall”.
The person mooting the permit idea is Gwynedd Watkin, Caernarfonshire’s county executive at the Farmers Union of Wales. Watkin is also a member of the Snowdon Partnership.
His inspiration came about after a visit to the ancient site of Machu Picchu in the Andes: “Last year I joined a group travelling to Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan city in the Andes Mountains,
“Every member of the group was required to pay for a permit, which the Peruvian authorities strictly enforced. It’s a system that works elsewhere to protects popular but sensitive environments.
“Not all visitors would be happy to pay for access but ultimately it would help improve facilities and benefit everyone. If, for example, 100,000 visitors paid £10 each for permits, it would raise £1m-a-year for improvements.”
Watkin has previously suggested this idea to the Snowdon Partnership but no action has been taken so far.
How it would work
With regards to how such a scheme would work, the basic premise is for an online permit booking system. Policing and implementing the permits would fall to the park wardens.
Watkin: “During their patrols they could carry out random checks and issue fines to anyone without a permit. Police officers are now being issued with chest-mounted cameras and these could be used by wardens too.”