1,000 signatures reached
To: Lake District National Park Authority, Kendal
STOP TARMAC ON KESWICK RAILWAY PATH
In Dec. 2015 Storm Desmond caused a lot of damage to this popular footpath. In September 2018 the LDNPA passed their major plans for restoration of this 'traffic-free' 'Multiuser Trail' (MUT) 7/2018/2116, alarmingly also intending to resurface the 4-5 mile length with totally inappropriate lethal tarmac where the original path sufficed for decades! See Trip Advisor comments for suitability for all users! People love this natural, quiet woodland environment, a special place that will be lost where educational walks are sometimes led.
Please do not do this! it must not happen, there is huge opposition. The railway did not run on tarmac. (See our letter dated December 2018 from the Government.) It was never an issue before Desmond. There is absolutely NO need.
Repair the path and bridges where necessary, this path on the Historic Environment Record will re-open much sooner bringing benefit to the local economy. We have corresponded for 9 months, helped by the Friends of the Lake District and Cumbria Bridleways Society. We have met the Cumbria Wildlife Trust's CEO. You know National Park status is supposed to provide the highest level of protection and since 2017 it has been a World Heritage Site, partly because of the history of the conservation movement that began here. Unesco said the LDNPA should pay more attention to conservation. They also say planners often need educating about the meaning of World Heritage Site status!
You know the Keswick to Threlkeld railway path: designated a County Wildlife Site is a protected environment where in the planning system the LDNP has a duty to conserve the biodiversity it is not their job to annihilate. This is dereliction of duty. UK Government's Biodiversity Strategy for England and Wales 2020 refers. UNO Decade of Biodiversity 2020.
Why is this important?
The Cumbria Wildlife Trust administers the CWS scheme and explains these sites have considerable nature conservation value in natural heritage for habitats and species of national importance. The LDNPA played a role when the CWS panel established the selection guidelines and will possess the landowner's leaflet!
The laying of tarmac or any hard surface means it will literally be a case of life or death. Associated plan ref. 7/2019/2017 admits wildlife could be injured or killed! Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Forestry Act 1976 and Charter for Trees 2017 - over 1,000 lost, red squirrel woodland.
The photograph shows the countryside where the railway path is hidden in the deep Greta gorge indicated by the line of trees crossing from east to west, just discernible! Keswick is not far to the west.
The footpath lies at the bottom of the deep, steep-sided narrow gorge of the River Greta, for miles barely discernible from the A66 above, and tributary to the Derwent catchment area part of the National Trust's Riverlands project that could be compromised. Embodied in the 1995 Environment Act, their duty under the Sandford Principle is to give priority to the environment where there is a conflict with public interest.
As an optional 4-5 mile section of the long Coast 2 Coast (C2C) route only since the 1990s, cyclists' interests should not take priority over other users .This is not a road, but primarily a decades-old footpath where cyclists are allowed and not vice versa and aren't cyclists traffic?
The LDNPA also has a duty to honour their commitment to the 2 Partnerships of which they are a member: the Cumbria wildlife Sites and the Derwent and South West Catchment Area. The John Muir Trust has a 'Keep it wild' policy that would equally apply here!
The UK is already one of the most nature-depleted countries, hence the Government's 25-year Environment Plan and 'biodiversity net gain' - it can only lose with these plans.
How it will be delivered
By hand to the LDNPA offices, Kendal, Cumbria