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Councillors support Windermere speed limit

Credit: ITV Border

Councillors in south Cumbria have decided not to try changing the 10mph speed limit on Windermere.

The limit was first introduced ten years ago and brought an end to fast water sports on England's longest lake.

South Lakeland councillors discussed the issue this morning.

The council's position is to continue to support the 10mph speed limit on the lake.

"Any decision to change the by-law would have to be made by the Lake District National Park Authority.

"Windermere is a world-class attraction. A place to be enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. We will build a stronger relationship with all our partners, including the LDNPA, to ensure that it continues to flourish.

– David Sykes, Director of People and Places, South Lakeland District Council

Councillors vote to keep Windermere speed limit

Credit: ITV Border

South Lakeland District Council's Lake Advisory Committee has voted not to change its position on the speed limit on Windermere.

The 10mph speed limit was first introduced ten years ago and brought an end to fast water sports on England's longest lake.

Councillors met this morning to decide if the limit was damaging business around the water and if the council should:

  • recommend the National Park should change the bylaw
  • keep the speed limit but do more to help businesses
  • make no changes

Councillors voted 12 to 1 (with 1 abstention) to keep the speed limit but to do more to help businesses in other initiatives.

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Windermere opens to learner rowers

Credit: PA

Cumbrians can learn to row on Windermere for the first time thanks to a new British Rowing-affiliated course.

The Learn to Row courses introduces people to the sport in crews of 4, with learn-to rowers of all ages.

Lakeland Rowing Club has raised £20,000 for two stable Swift quads, which 32 people will use as they begin learning to row over the next 5 weeks.

The work done over the past year has been really terrific from Lakeland Rowing Club.

The beautiful water in the Lake District has always shown much promise for rowing but has never until now taken off.

With the dedicated effort that Lakeland RC’s volunteers have been putting in to fund new equipment and up-skill volunteers with coaching qualifications, they will now be able to open up rowing to a larger audience on the lakes.”

– James Andrews, from British Rowing

Warning for boat owners on Windermere

Windermere Credit: ITV Border

Boat owners on Windermere are being warned to carry out safety checks on their vessels and make sure they're in full working order ahead of the boating season.

The warning from lake wardens follows the 2013 Windermere tragedy when a mother and daughter died from carbon monoxide poisoning because of a faulty generator on a private boat.

SLDC Lake Warden Martin Dodgson explained the most common problem the wardens are called out to are over-heated engines after winterisation.

He says it is essential to have all engines checked and serviced.

"A boat's fuel, gas and electrical systems should be checked and maintained on a regular basis. It is important to make sure there is fresh fuel in the engine after it has been unused for a prolonged period of time.

"Alarms and sensors should always be re-installed and tested after winterisation; all boats should have fire alarms and carbon monoxide sensors."

– SLDC Lake Warden Martin Dodgson

SLDC's Lake Wardens have this boat check list:

  • Check the water tank
  • Test carbon monoxide sensor
  • Check the skin fitting
  • Check gas and electrical systems -check them regularly and make sure there are no leaks
  • Check the engine and have it serviced
  • Check life jackets and make sure theyare in date - check them annually
  • Test smoke alarms - fire can spreadquickly on a boat, even on water

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Life-saving buoys stolen from Windermere

Two buoyancy aids were taken Credit: South Lakeland District Council

Two potentially life-saving buoyancy aids have been stolen from a jetty in Windermere.

They were taken from the new floating jetty at Bark Barn, near Belle Grange on the western side of the lake, sometime between Tuesday 3 March and Monday 9 March.

The rescue buoys are designed to be thrown to people who are struggling in the water, and are worth around £100 each.

They had recently been donated.

“It really is disgusting that someone would do this.

"This is the first time I’ve known any life-saving equipment to be stolen from around the lake in my 20 years working here.’’

– Martin Dodgson, SLDC Lake Warden

Windermere and Furness Line to benefit

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Windermere and the Furness Line will reportedly benefit from franchise plans announced by the Government this morning.

The new 'Northern Regional' service means that by December 2017, Windermere should have two trains per day to Manchester Airport from Monday to Friday.

It also means that the Furness line is expected to have eight trains a day to Manchester and Manchester Airport, as well as extra trains along the Cumbrian Coast that it's claimed will be timed to better serve workers' shift patterns.

£120k fine for council over bin lorry deaths

A Cumbrian council has been fined £120,000 after two women were killed by reversing bin lorries in the space of nine months.

South Lakeland District Council was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation that found the local authority had failed to tackle the risks from reversing vehicles.

Carlisle Crown Court heard the first incident happened on a single-track lane off Easedale Road in Grasmere on 2 June 2010. Mary Cook had been walking down the track while on holiday with her husband when she was struck by a reversing rubbish truck. The 54-year-old from Nottingham died from her injuries.

The driver pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving in a separate prosecution. However, the HSE investigation also found that it was normal practice for 7.5 tonne bin lorries to reverse down the long track to reach a holiday rental home, without a council employee walking behind to guide the driver.

The court was told the council should have reviewed all its bin collection rounds following the incident to eliminate reversing whenever possible, or to make sure employees guided drivers from behind vehicles when there was no other option but to reverse.

This did not happen and instead reversing was actually introduced at St Mary's School on Prince’s Road in Windermere where the second incident occurred.

The council had been carrying out fortnightly collections of recycling waste from outside the school gates for a term when it changed its system and instead began reversing the trucks onto the school grounds to collect the rubbish.

On 17 March 2011, council employee Dorothy Harkes, 58, from Ulverston, was walking behind a rubbish truck to guide the driver when she was struck, causing fatal injuries.

The driver of the vehicle was also convicted of causing death by careless driving but the HSE investigation concluded that there had been no need for council trucks to reverse onto the school grounds.

South Lakeland District Council was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

“Both the drivers have already admitted their part in Mary and Dorothy’s deaths but our investigation found the council had not done all it should have to protect the public and their employees from the danger of reversing rubbish trucks.

“The lane that Mary Cook and her husband had been walking along was heavily used by holidaymakers and yet the council failed to make sure measures were in place so that its vehicles could reverse safely.

“What’s particularly disappointing is that the council actually introduced reversing as part of its collection of recycling waste from St Mary's School, rather than trying to eliminate it wherever possible following Mary’s death.”

– Mark Dawson, HSE’s Principal Inspector for Cumbria and North Lancashire
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