Plans for an almost 60 foot radio tower have been submitted within the Snowdonia National Park in a bid to improve connectivity for the emergency services.

The application for the new 17.5 metre (57 feet) structure at Rhyd-Ddu, which has been submitted by the Home Office, is the latest as part of the UK Government’s new Emergency Services Network (ESN).

The Snowdonia National Park Authority, which will consider this application, also recently approved similar Home Office proposals for a 20 metre (66 feet) mast at Rhosygwaliau, Llangywer near y Bala.

All 107 police, fire and ambulance services in England, Scotland and Wales currently use the Airwave network to communicate between rooms and officers on the ground, along with 363 other organisations such as local authorities and mountain rescuers.

But its replacement is intended to replace existing “walkie-talkie” style radios with a system based on a 4G network, enabling officers using smartphone equipment to speedily access data such as videos and images, while also tackling “not-spots”.

The Home Office also says that this ongoing investment will mean improvements to 4G network coverage, enabling 999 calls to be made securely from mobile phones in some of the most remote and rural parts of Great Britain.

These latest proposals near the Welsh Highland Railway station at Rhyd-Ddu also include a radio tower with antenna and dishes as well as an electronics equipment cabin within a new stone building, generator and VSAT dish.

According to the supporting documents, this specific site was chosen to minimise the visual impact, with the tower positioned with “suitable screening from public vantage points in mind”.

The documents said: “The angle of approach from the adjacent A4085 road offers only oblique and fully screened views of the proposed site, certainly at lower levels from public vantage points close by and along the access route to site, by virtue of the adjacent tree screening and station infrastructure.

“From the north and east the proposed site benefits from the backdrop of the nearby trees within the station car park area and bus stop, and when viewed from further afield to the east the rising ground and forestry backdrop of Bryn Cwellyn.

“This proposal forms part of a programme which will provide the emergency services with nationwide 4G voice and data services and forms part of the nation’s Critical National Infrastructure.

“The new 4G network which this proposal forms part of, will significantly improve the efficiency of the Emergency Services by giving them access to the latest type of data and applications for example the ability for an ambulance crew to send vital patient data on to the hospital to allow staff to make the best preparations in advance of a patient’s arrival for example.”

Similar Home Office proposals have also been approved over recent months by the national park including a 20 metre mast at Moel Llechwedd Hafod in Cwm Penmachno and a 12 metre one at Bod-Owen, Barmouth.

In March 2020, however, plans for a 10 metre mast at the foot of the Pyg Track at Pen y Pass were withdrawn after being proposed for refusal by national park planning officers.

It’s expected that Snowdonia National Park planners will consider the Rhyd-Ddu applications over the coming weeks.