Fine for Honister Slate Mine over Via Ferrata

The owners of a Lake District tourist attraction have been ordered to pay almost £30,000 for illegally fitting an extension to the facility.

Natural England said Honister Slate Mine's addition to its Via Ferrata mountain trek damaged the environment.

Via Ferrata is a climbing system using fixed cables attached to a rock face route once used by Victorian miners.

The company admitted the charge at Workington Magistrates' Court and was fined £15,000 with £13,190 costs.

'Difficult to pay'

The Via Ferrata - Italian for iron road - opened in 2007. The offending section of the route, which features a zip wire, was opened late last year but will now have to close.

The slate mine, near Keswick, was owned by the late Mark Weir before his death in a helicopter crash in March.

Mr Weir's partner Jan Wilkinson said the fine was "on the high side" but would be paid in full.

She said: "This will be difficult to pay.

"We held our hands up straight away and we thought the fine would have been a bit more lenient as a result."

The court heard the attraction had damaged part of a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI).

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