£100k Gwynedd plan after concerns motorhomes are ‘parking where they like’ in rural areas
Gareth Wyn Williams, local democracy reporter
Gwynedd is considering spending £100,000 on plans to allow campervans and motorhomes to stay overnight at some designated car parks, in light of unprecedented scenes over recent summers.
The move has been prompted by concerns raised both within and outside of the council, with members having called for a clampdown on campervans and motorhomes “parking where they like” in parts of rural Gwynedd.
A cabinet report will recommend up to six pilot areas be set up following concerns over the growing number of motorhome owners deciding to stay in areas where they have no lawful right to do so.
As a result, the local authority is looking to spend £100,000 on establishing six French-style “Aires” sites on parts of existing car-parks, as is often found on the European continent.
‘Aires’ are small-scale camp sites offering only the most basic of facilities such as waste disposal and water, tending to be cheaper than traditional caravan sites.
But with the report noting that the county’s existing caravan sites have been struggling with capacity issues during the heavy tourist seasons of 2020 and 2021, its hoped that the basic offering will help reduce the dumping of human waste and litter while also generating some economic benefit.
“The aim of this pilot would be to encourage those visiting in motorhomes to stay in a town or village, offering an element of economic benefit to the local community and better management of the sector,” said Cllr Gareth Thomas, who holds the economic development portfolio.
“With the restrictions of Covid-19 making people less likely to have travelled to the continent over the last two summers, we have seen an increase in people visiting in motorhomes to enjoy Gwynedd’s popular attractions.
“In fact, sales of motor vehicles increased by 71% in 2019 and 2020.
“The high numbers of people visiting has been a cause of concern for some areas with some deciding to stay in motorhomes in locations where there is no legal right to sleep in a vehicle overnight.
“That is why we are keen to consider what steps can be considered to improve the management of the field.”
An online consultation over the summer found that 92.2% of motorhome users would use an “aire”-like provision if it was available, with the main requirements being fresh water and somewhere to dispose of toilet waste and refuse.
The environment chief, Cllr Gareth Griffith, added: “This would allow us to see if this arrangement better manages the situation, and to consider whether it would help us to have better management in the county in the future.
“If the cabinet consents, work will proceed to secure the relevant rights before any developments.”
The pleas for action came following complaints of both “antisocial campers” leaving litter and human waste in their wake as well as unprecedented scenes of dangerous parking on the roads of Snowdonia and beyond during the summer of 2020.
“We have seen up to 15 of these vehicles on some nights parking in the most remote areas which have no suitable facilities whatsoever,” said Cllr Simon Glyn during a scrutiny committee meeting last year.
“We have hundreds of camp sites in Gwynedd which are designed for them, there is no need for them to park in such places overnight.”
If approved, the planning stage would be expected to start in February 2022 with the first pilot sites up and running by the spring of 2023.
The cabinet will consider the report when it meets on next Tuesday, November 9.
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About time following France and Germany with Aiers with a small charge for water and somewhere to empty your waste water
Strange Gwynedd Council seems to be developing double standards , on one hand they want to be seen as a progressive council taking action locally on climate change and reduction of carbon and on the other hand using their funds to support motorhomes ( yet to see an EV motorhome on the market) adding to the air pollution and co2 emissions. parking overnight simply because it is too difficult for them to create by laws and enforce no overnight, sorry but Gwynedd Council has no remit to provide these spaces out of the public purse. Tourism is not sustainable and… Read more »
Could raise even more funds by clamping parked motorhomes and licensing local traders to collect release fees ! Judging by some of the pictures I saw last summer there’s some serious money to be made !
Gareth I see where your coming from. We have owned motorehomes for the last 20 years. Ours always have solar panels with battery storage so we are self-sufficient. Yes, we do use diesel unfortunately. The vast increase in numbers of motorehomes is evident and we found great difficulty in finding campsite places this year. Motorehomes are used over winter too but campsites close so where do they stay?. Controlling a problem and providing overnight parking will help alleviate illegal parking. By staying in the Uk for our breaks it has reduced our carbon footprint from previous years. Gwynedd is very… Read more »
Do you mean all tourism should be banned in Gwynedd, then? I believe most people visiting the area drive cars, anyway. Many of which have even bigger and more polluting engines than motorhomes (or more or less equal). More in general, from this article I understand there’s no areas for campervans around Wales, or the UK? That’s quite a surprise for me!
Day tripping to Snowdonia (or any such areas) bringing no benefit to local economies needs addressing just as much as freeloading campervaning and kerb camping.
Yes, if it’s about overtourism in general, I agree it’s a serious issue. It’s destructive in so many ways. Not just campervans, but too much traffic, too many cars, too many empty second homes, too many unique local shops turning into tourist traps and big chain stores, pollution, rubbish, chaos. No easy solutions, unfortunately. But thinking of each issue as separate from all the others hasn’t worked well here in Italy. So it’s probably a better idea thinking of it as a whole from the beginning, if you can.
…“We have seen up to 15 of these vehicles on some nights parking in the most remote areas which have no suitable facilities whatsoever,”
You need to get out more councillor.
i counted 47 such vehicles parked between Capel Curig and Pont y Gromlech, Llanberis pass during one mid week summer night. While spaces could be seen at close by camp sites. Such owners take pride in avoiding having to pay for staying in Snowdonia. If such facilities are provided they need to make a profit and every other Gwynedd/Conwy council/SNP owned layby and carpark designated No overnight parking.
Well let’s get something straight this report suggest that the area in France have a charge, they do not, aire are free of charge be the rural or on motorways as driver pay enough in taxes . So let it be the same in the uk.
We have used these french and Spanish areas numerous times travel. They are safe with regular security or police visits. They have toilets and shower water all free.
Places to picnic open to car lorries campervsn rvs motor bikes tents. Anyone who needs to rest.