Claims surface that LDNPA may not have followed correct World Heritage procedures.

On 7 November 2018, the LDNPA development control committee voted to allow the creation of a new zip wire at Honister Slate Mine in the Lake District. However, within a matter of hours, campaign group Zip Off posted a statement on Twitter claiming that the planning decision could be reversed.

After initial consultations were made by Zip Off to World Heritage to check if the correct procedures were followed, irregularities emerged:

  1. LDNPA may “not have followed” Section 172 of the UNESCO operational guidelines.
  2. Zip Off claim that proper notice was not given to World Heritage of the zip wire bid, and that there is no public record of the LDNPA or UK government making any such application to World Heritage.
  3. If this is proven to be the case then planning approval will have to be revoked and a new application made – this time seeking approval from World Heritage.

“Zip Off welcomes these developments,” their statement concludes, “and far from the champagne corks being popped in Honister and Cumbria Tourism this evening, it seems that LDNPA have not followed procedure of the World Heritage status they craved, so the planning decision may quickly be reversed in the coming days.”

We will be following these developments with interest and will update this story when the truth becomes clear.

“Now that the Lake District is a World Heritage Site it deserves even greater protection”

The Open Spaces Society have added their voice to the chorus of dismay regarding the Honister Zip Wire plan, which was opposed by government adviser, Natural England, the Friends of the Lake District, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Wainwright Society, Buttermere Parish Council, and 124 other objectors.

Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society, says:

“The zip wire would be an unacceptable intrusion in this wild area; it would be highly visible from the adjoining fells and would create an irreconcilable conflict with the protection of the natural beauty of the park. We consider it to be contrary to the purposes of the national park, and to breach the Sandford Principle which requires that, where conservation and recreation are in conflict, the park authority must give priority to conservation.

“Now that the Lake District is a World Heritage Site it deserves even greater protection. We believe that the park authority members have demonstrated a lamentable lack of care for this splendid and unique area.

“The committee members have overruled the expert advice of their officer, and we fear that this will set a precedent for allowing inappropriate development in national parks.

“While we are not against zip wires or adventurous recreation, we consider that this one is most definitely in the wrong place.

“We shall talk to the other objectors about what action we might take. We do not consider this battle yet to be over.”

Header image: © C.J. Everhardt / Shutterstock