Victory for the environment
Last updated at 21:23, Thursday, 15 September 2011
Richard Pearse, planning officer for the Friends of the Lake District:
“We’re very pleased with the decision. It’s a victory for the environment, it’s a victory for national parks and what they stand for – free access to an outstanding natural landscape.
“The economic argument for this development was not overwhelming and it should not outweigh the fundamental damage it would have caused to one of the most outstanding areas of the country.
“Adventurous outdoor pursuits are available all over the Lake District – in the form of rock climbing and mountain biking for example – and are enjoyed by large numbers of young (and not so young) people, in harmony with the environment.
“The scale of this proposal in this location was inappropriate, however.
“The decision reflects the strength of feeling and quality of arguments put forward by a wide group of organisations and individuals, who, like us, all believe that the open fell tops, free from man made developments, should be protected for everyone’s benefit.
“The application site lies within an area of distinctive character – Buttermere and Crummock Water.
“In many ways, that area of distinctive character can be regarded as all that is most celebrated about the Lake District in microcosm.
“The sensitivity of the environment clearly limits the nature of development which is able to take place. Friends of the Lake District had a number of significant concerns in this respect.
“It is important to consider not just the physical impact of the development itself, but also the impact that the proposal would have upon the character of the area, through the nature and level of use.
“In Friends of the Lake District’s view, a zip wire of the scale proposed would have appeared incongruous in the undeveloped and tranquil environment.
“The existing activity at the slate mine is noted. The mine workings are not regarded as a defining characteristic of this area, however, and should not be used to justify additional development.
“Moreover, the proposed zip wire would have introduced an entirely new form of land use – a high speed, recreational activity, reliant upon fixed, man-made infrastructure, which is not in our view sympathetic with the defining characteristics of the area.
“The visual impact of the zip wire and users thereof would have been significant. It would have been clearly visible from the adjacent fells, in particular Dale Head.
“The zip wire would have been located in very close proximity to walkers using the popular path to Haystacks from the slate mine car park.
“We do not feel that it is appropriate to seek to intensify activity in the area during quieter periods of the year, as the proposal sought to do. Many would point to these times of year as the time when the special qualities of the national park can be best appreciated.
“While Friends of the Lake District recognise the need to support the local economy, we do not feel that this should be to the detriment of an internationally valued environment.
“The fells have, rightly, since the inception of the national park, been subject to a restrictive approach towards development in order to protect their outstanding character and sensitive environment.
“We would therefore be concerned not only as to the impact of the development itself should it be approved, but also the precedent this would set.”
First published at 19:24, Thursday, 15 September 2011
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
I am fed up of self appointed bodies deciding what is best fro everyone else. The agenda of the 'Friends' seems to be to preserve in aspic, a playground exclusively of their imagining. The Lake district, and honister in particular, has always been a dynamic and changing environment; and has certainly been the site of industry for hundreds (if not thousands) of years.I am an avid fell walker and love the experience of walking in the beauty of our County. I have also enjoyed the Honister via ferata on numerous occasions and feel it has enhanced, not detracted from, my sense of awe at the landscape. The zip wire would be a fantastic experience.Furthermore, if the 'Friends' aim is to avoid congestion and noise in the Lake District, why aren't they lobbying to have all the tea rooms closed, the car parks fenced off and hotels shut down? It strikes me that there is a definite air of snobbery about the 'Friends', with such 'vulgar' pursuits as zip wires frowned on as too proletarian in nature.
Are you suggesting that people visiting the zip wire would cause problems for those who already live/work in the Buttermere area? I donât think this would be a major problem as I would envisage most visitors would approach the zip wire from the Borrowdale end and I donât see the traffic being a big issue in any case. I am all for the zip wire and hope it eventually gets the go ahead.
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