A GROUP set up to oppose plans for a cable car lift at Whinlatter is calling on the National Park to impose a £5 tourist tax.

The NoGo Gondola Group says such a charge on each car could raise between £25-£30 million a year for the Lake District to finance infrastructure and maintenance projects.

In a statement, the group says National Park bosses should press the case for the levy to the Government and again called for the National Park authority to distance itself from the Whinlatter Development Company (WDC) and any plan for a cable car upto the visitor centre.

When the idea of such a scheme was included in the National Park Authority’s Local Plan last summer, it sparked major opposition.

The group says: “With such evident large scale opposition to this controversial project; and where a strong legal/regulatory case exists against it, we consider it inappropriate for the LDNPA to continue as a stakeholder within the WDC.

“Despite assurances of ‘strong internal governance arrangements’, continued membership gives the clear impression that factions within the LDNPA leadership remain committed to introducing a gondola at Whinlatter, and potentially elsewhere in the park. “

NoGo Gondola group chairman Jon Derry will raise the issues at the National Park Authority committee meeting on Wednesday.

Fears over developing Whinlatter were raised by the group at last week’s park strategy and vision committee meeting.

Chairman Neil Cumberlidge confirmed the authority is one of a number of partners evaluating the case for a new mountain centre at Whinlatter.

He said: “It is established practice for public sector organisations, including national park authorities, to get involved in projects that have the potential to be both transformative for their localities and which may also improve delivery of services to the public.

“I can assure the NoGo Gondola Group that the LDNPA has strong internal governance arrangements which means that developmental ideas are dealt with separately from our planning responsibilities.”