Company defends plan for Lake District zip wire attraction

Fleetwith Pike
Image caption The proposed zip wire would span the length of Fleetwith Pike

Plans to build a mile-long zip wire on a Cumbrian mountain have been defended amid claims it could spoil the tranquil environment of the Lake District.

Lake District National Park Authority is due to consider the Honister Slate Mine proposal in September.

The wire would run from a concealed cliff face below the summit of Fleetwith Pike. There would be a 1,000ft (300m) climb to the start site.

Opponents say the project would change the character of the area forever.

The Honister site is already a major tourist attraction in the area, with about 60,000 visitors a year.

The company claims the zip wire would encourage tourists to spend more time in the area and would lead to further jobs being created.

But opponents, including Natural England and Friends of the Lake District, claim the zip wire would detract from the area's sense of remoteness and tranquillity.

Key characteristics

So far 474 letters in support of the plans have been received by the park authority, with 223 against.

Richard Pearse, of the Friends of the Lake District, said: "The location is one of the most sensitive and tranquil in the national park.

"We feel that tourism should be undertaken in sympathy with the key characteristics of the national park.

"The point is that a lot of people come to visit the national park to experience tranquillity and remoteness."

A spokesman for the slate mine said: "This is going to create jobs. What it is also going to do is get people to visit this area that don't actually do it at the moment.

"The visitors that we have to the Lake District are dying off and we have to find new ways of getting new people to this area otherwise all our hotels will be empty within 25 years."

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