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Heritage status must not hold back Lake District communities, MP warns

The Lake District has been granted world heritage status Credit: PA

The Lake District’s successful world heritage status bid must not hinder the growth of Cumbria’s rural economy, an MP has warned.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron welcomed the news that the Lake District had joined the likes of Hadrian’s Wall and Taj Mahal as a world heritage site, but cautioned that there was a risk to Cumbrian communities.

The out-going Lib Dem leader whose Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency includes large swathes of the Lake District had this to say on the issue:

This is fantastic news for our area, and for the local tourist economy. This well-deserved status is a formal recognition of the outstanding natural beauty of the Lake District, and will help to further promote our area as the UK's leading rural tourist destination. However, it is vital that the Lake District remains a viable place for local people to live. This decision is about protecting and promoting the natural and culture heritage of our area, and must not be used as an excuse to freeze in aspic our vibrant rural communities. The Lake District must be a place where local people can afford to live, raise a family and find work so that rural communities can thrive.

– Tim Farron MP

The news was welcomed by Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart who tweeted:

One of the fiercest critics of the world heritage status bids is Guardian journalist and environmentalist George Monbiot who will be intervieed on tonight's Lookaround programme.

He is on record as saying:

The entire bid is based on a fairytale, a pretence that the rural economy of the Lake District hasn’t changed for 200 years. If Unesco grants world heritage status on these grounds, it will inflict irreparable harm on both our natural heritage and its own good standing.

– George Monbiot