The Open Spaces Society slams ‘zipper-mere’ plan

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We have slammed plans by Treetop Trek for a massive zipwire development across Thirlmere, in the heart of the Lake District National Park.  The proposals include eight cables stretching across the lake, with take-off and landing points, gantries, additional car-parking provision and buildings.

Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘These plans would make Thirlmere into Zipper-mere. The development would dominate this splendid landscape and destroy its peace.’

The society argues that the works would be in breach of the Lake District National Park Authority’s statutory purpose, to conserve, and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the national park.  They would constitute a major development which the park authority is pledged reject unless there is an overriding national need and no alternatives.

Commercial exploitation
Says Kate: ‘It is evident that there is no overriding national need for this, and certainly there are alternative sites outside the national park.  This is an unacceptable commercial exploitation of a wild, sensitive area.  Its international importance has been recognised in the recent World Heritage Status award.

Thirlmere from Smaithwaite Banks, roughly where the cables would cross.
© Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

‘The Open Spaces Society has a long history with Thirlmere.  In 1878 a reservoir scheme was proposed by the Manchester Corporation by a private bill in parliament.  By threatening opposition, the society persuaded the corporation to amend the bill and give the public a right of access on foot to the commons which were part of the scheme.  This right was enshrined in the Manchester Corporation Act 1879 and endures today, further reinforcing the value of this area for quiet recreation.  Indeed, Thirlmere is rightly considered to be the birthplace of the conservation movement, a special place indeed.’

The society has submitted a strongly-worded objection to the Lake District National Park Authority, questioning whether it can legally grant consent for a development which is in breach of its statutory purposes and many of its policies.  There are already many objectors including the Friends of the Lake District, the Campaign for National Parks, the British Mountaineering Council and the National Trust.

Please send your objections to this damaging development.  Further details are on the Friends of the Lake District website.  The closing date for objections has been extended to 12 January 2018.

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