The zip-wire is planned for Honister Crag, left. Photo: Alan  Faulkner CC-BY-ND-2.0

The zip-wire is planned for Honister Crag, left. Photo: Alan Faulkner CC-BY-ND-2.0

A conservation charity has condemned the latest proposal to build a tourist zip-wire down the side of a Lake District fell.

Honister Slate Mine has submitted scaled-down plans for the aerial slide, reducing its length and altering its start point on Honister Crags.

Its original proposal was turned down by Lake District national park planners more than a year ago, after the company had withdrawn an earlier plan.

But the Friends of the Lake District say the new plans are still inappropriate for the location, on the side of Fleetwith Pike.

The proposals are due to be considered on 7 January, and the charity is urging the public to make its views known.

The Friends said: “The new application is for a slightly shorter zip-wire, 1,035m instead of 1,200m and starts a little further down the fell at Honister Crags.

“The new application also no longer has a large fan to brake participants’ fall at the end. Instead, there will now be a landing point mid-way down the fellside.

“The applicant is also applying for temporary permission to allow for a ‘visitor perception assessment study’.”

Jack Ellerby, Friends of the Lake District’s policy officer added: “A recreational development of this scale and nature has never before been allowed upon a remote fell location like this.

“The Friends only object to planning applications when significant harm would result from developments, and they would create an unacceptable precedent.

“We think this application for a zip-wire at Honister conflicts with the national park’s planning policies to protect the spectacular landscape and promote sustainable tourism.

“The changes to the new application are not sufficiently different for us to allow it to go past without comment.

“One important difference is the new mid-way landing area introduces more man-made development onto the open fellside. What other developments will be allowed if this goes through?

“While Friends of the Lake District support the need to strengthen the local economy with the right sort of development in the right location, we do not feel that this zip-wire at Honister is right for the Lake District.

“Since the beginning of the national park, development on the fells has, rightly, been restricted to protect their outstanding beauty and sensitive environment. The right to enjoy unspoilt ‘freedom of the fells’ is vital to Cumbria and the Lake District’s tourism industry and, therefore, we think this application is wrong in this location and should be refused.”

The Friends said the Lake District National Park Authority’s planning committee will take into account public views.

The committee is due to hear the application, which can be viewed online, at its 7 January meeting.

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