Lake District National Park Authority could trial ban on tourists' cars

Lake District National Park Authority could trial ban on tourists' cars

20th November 2021

National park bosses are considering trialing a ban on tourists’ cars in certain areas of the Lake District to combat worsening traffic issues.

The Lakes saw a surge in the number of tourists heading to the UNESCO World Heritage site during the summer, resulting in heavy congestion, dangerous parking and frustrated residents.

Campaigners have previously called for action on the issue, including Ambleside Action for a Future, which wants major investment in public transport and a feasibility study into an eco-levy on cars driving into the Lakes from other counties – which Cumbria County Council has rejected.

The Lake District National Park Authority and county council maintain that the focus is on encouraging people to use sustainable alternatives, and that they will continue to invest in transport infrastructure in the county.

However, Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park, did not rule out trialing a ban on tourists’ cars during peak seasons.

In the letter, the council said regulatory measures are ‘now unavoidable’ and added: “Traffic levels on the A591 between Waterhead and Windermere, and on the dense network of minor country lanes west of Ambleside, put at risk emergency services, frustrate the movement of locals and spoil the experience of visitors.”

The council suggested several measures including the designation of minor roads as 'community access routes' and the application of Automatic Number Plate Recognition to allow selective entry.

It also raised the idea of road pricing and called for studies to take place.
"Road pricing could be introduced using existing legislation,” the letter said.
“Lakes parish council, therefore, asks that Cumbria County Council and the national park address possible ways to remedy problems that we all agree need to be faced.”

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said it was 'aware' of congestion issues and reiterated it would not be conducting a feasibility study to introduce a Congestion Charge Zone or establish a Clean Air Zone in the Lake District National Park.

Also said: "The issue of creating additional capacity for parking and traffic calming measures requires a partnership approach between the county and district councils, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, the Lake District National Park Authority and Network Rail.

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