Paddlers and sailors have given a massive thumbs-down to the Lakeland authority’s plans to charge for use of the national park’s lakes. Powered craft on Windermere already have to pay a registration fee.
Right: a sailboarder on Derwent Water: users have said 'no' to charges for the lake
The less-than-surprising outcome of a consultation which asked boat users whether they would like to ease the Lake District National Park Authority’s financial woes by paying to use canoes and sailing boats was a firm ‘bugger off’.
Well, we paraphrase. The appropriately named Carissa Lough, national park recreation management advisor, said: “There is significant public opposition to extending the Windermere byelaws to non-powered craft.
“It is likely that an application to amend the registration byelaws to do this could result in a potentially lengthy and costly public inquiry. Equally, introducing similar schemes on Coniston Water, Ullswater and Derwent Water would be just as unpopular and could promote strong opposition.” Now there’s a surprise.
2,000 replies were analysed and 91 percent of paddlers and sailors on Coniston and Derwent Waters and Ullswater said they would not be prepared to stump up cash for bylaw enforcement, rescue and ‘other services’. 83 per cent of Windermere users did not want to see the registration scheme extended to non-powered craft.
The British Canoe Union is currently running a campaign to extend the right to access to English and Welsh waterways. A charging scheme would have been a backwards move, restricting use of the Lake District’s main lakes to those prepared and able to pay. Scotland has a right of free access to inland water.
The national park authority will now be recommended to reject the charging plans.
In February, the Lake District National Park Authority announced plans for redundancies among its staff. Last year, an Audit Commission report said the authority said it ‘lacked focus’ and needed to slash £1m from its budget.