Opponents said Thirlmere was the wrong place for zipwires. Photo: Rod Ireland

Opponents said Thirlmere was the wrong place for zipwires. Photo: Rod Ireland

Plans for a controversial zipwire across Thirlmere in the Lake District have been withdrawn.

Mike Turner of Treetop Trek, the man behind the proposals, said uncertainty over the Ministry of Defence’s position on the development had led him to abandon his application to the Lake District authority.

Treetop Trek planned to build twin four-line zipwires across the reservoir. The site is regularly used by military aircraft for training.

In a submission to the national park planning committee, the MoD said the application could cause a significant hazard to planes and affect vital military training in the area.

Pilots would not be able to readily identify the wires and safely navigate away from them.

Mike Turner, managing director of Treetop Trek, said on Tuesday: “We have this week withdrawn our planning application for the Thirlmere activity hub with immediate effect.

“We made it clear from the beginning of this process that we would not propose a scheme that was not supported by the MoD. To date we have received two contradictory communications with the MoD; one supporting the scheme and the other opposing the scheme.

“The MoD’s internal investigation into Thirlmere and into what they would be happy with at Thirlmere is ongoing and unlikely to be resolved in the next eight weeks, so on that basis we are withdrawing the application.

“We would like to sincerely thank all those who have supported us during this process. Their positivity has been hugely appreciated.”

The Campaign for National Parks welcomed the decision to withdraw the planning application.

It was among several charities, campaign groups and well known individuals who opposed the plans.

The organisation said: “There has been mass opposition to the application, with the Lake District National Park Authority receiving thousands of letters objecting to the plans and concerns raised by the likes of actor Caroline Quentin, and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg.”

Its chief executive Fiona Howie said: “We are delighted that the planning application has been withdrawn.

“While the concerns of the Ministry of Defence are of course very important, we also believe that the proposal was totally inappropriate due to the impact it would have had on this beautiful and tranquil part of the Lake District National Park.

“If it went ahead, we were also concerned about the precedent it would set for further commercial activity, not only in this peaceful valley, but elsewhere in the Lake District and in other national parks.”

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, added: “We are delighted that the developers have withdrawn their proposals, which would have devastated the beauty and tranquillity of this splendid landscape.

“The plans were totally unacceptable in a national park and world heritage site.

“We are highly relieved that the threat to make Thirlmere into Zipper-mere has been lifted. It was enormously controversial and would have set an extremely damaging precedent, putting our protected landscapes at risk.”

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