40mph speed limit proposed for the A542 Horseshoe Pass in Wales

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Denbighshire County Council (DCC) have proposed permanently reducing the speed limit on the A542 Horseshoe Pass to 40mph. The proposal is currently in the consultation phase, meaning the public can have their say on the DCC website.

The road is popular with bikers and is home to the famously motorcycle-friendly Ponderosa Café at its summit. Business owner, Simon is in no doubt that if a 40mph limit is put in place, many day trippers will opt to head elsewhere.

"We rely heavily on those sorts of customers," he told MCN. "We have a lot of bikers visit the café in the summer and I think a lot of them will say ‘stuff it’ and head to another area if they have to do 40mph."

"We have had serious accidents on the road and maybe a 50mph limit would be a good idea but the whole area seems to be dropping to 40mph."

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Consultation documents published on the DCC website reveal little about the reason for the change, a page entitled ‘Statement of Reasons’ contains just four words: "To improve road safety." MCN has requested statistical evidence that the 40mph limit will make the road safer from DCC but none have been forthcoming yet.

This isn’t the first time the 40 limit has been suggested, the Welsh Government asked all local councils to audit their speed limits in 2012 and the report from Denbighshire made the recommendation then.

Statement of Reasons as given on the Denbighshire County Council website

And in 2014, then Llangollen Councillor, Stuart Davies campaigned that a 40mph limit was unnecessary on the stretch. He felt at the time that the reason for lowering the limit was to appease those who felt that vehicles were speeding on the road.

He told MCN: "I put in a Freedom of Information request to North Wales Police in 2014 and it revealed that since 2009 they had only brought only one prosecution for speeding on the Horseshoe Pass and that was in the financial year 2013-14. If they weren’t prosecuting people for breaking the 60mph limit up there why did they want to lower it to 40mph?

"There was a noise issue from motorcycles and people were saying speeding was going on, they said that they were speeding and causing the noise and that putting in speed limits would address this. I asked our officers to put in a speed check for a week which they did. In actual fact speeding wasn’t going on with the average speed being 48 mph if I recall correctly."

If you feel the 40mph limit is too low then you can have your say on the consultation page now before it's too late.

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Ben Clarke

By Ben Clarke

Staff Writer, hick for life, two cylinders max