[L]andscape conservation charity Friends of the Lake District launched its ‘Great Landscapes Week’ series of events on Saturday with a rally held at Latrigg near Keswick, where it asked the question: ‘What are National Parks for?’
A well-attended event and a venue with far reaching views of the Lake District provided the ideal setting for a lively debate on the future of our National Parks, their purpose and how we manage the pressure on transport and infrastructure that their increasing popularity bring.
The popularity of the rally highlighted the concern about where the Lake District National Park is now, and what it may look like in the future. Debate focussed on how we sustain our fragile landscapes for future generations and how we balance the needs of residents and visitors.
The discussion began with speeches from TV Presenter, and acclaimed Film-maker Terry Abraham, the man behind the Life of a Mountain series and Lord Clark of Windermere, the man who led the bid for the Lake District to become a World Heritage Site.
Douglas Chalmers spoke on behalf of Friends of the Lake District but the debate, fittingly, culminated with those in attendance – residents and visitors – taking the microphone and voicing their concerns about the parks future; a number of personal experiences highlighting the impact that the nation’s love of the Lake District is already having on day to day life within the park.
Douglas Chalmers, Chief Executive, Friends of the Lake District, said: “Yet again, we pulled together so many people with such an interest in the future of our National Parks and who have a real desire to see them thrive. I am always delighted, and no longer surprised that so many share a joy of being in our National Parks and who care enough to be so vocal about its future and its prosperity.
“From listening to people on the day and also elsewhere, it’s obvious that there are genuinely felt concerns about where the Lake District National Park is now, and what it may look like in the future. We can agree with some of the Lake District National Park Authority’s Local Plan Review, but it has certainly raised questions about why we would even consider creating additional, so-called attractions.
“More and more people come to the Lake District National Park every year, and they come for the landscape. They cannot get that anywhere else. Why do we risk smothering or choking the very uniqueness that sustains and supports not only our physical and emotional wellbeing, but also the thousands of small businesses dependent on visitors?”
The rally was the first in a week of free events organised by Friends of the Lake District as part of ‘Great Landscapes Week’ running from 4th to 10th August. More details available at: www.greatlandscapesweek.org.uk