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National Trust to consider controversial Lake District car ban

Credit: PA

Areas of the Lake District could be made car-free as part of controversial plans proposed by the National Trust to combat traffic in the area. Working with the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria Highways, they will discuss the possibility of banning cars in particularly congested parts of the park at a meeting in Kendal today.

Traffic congestion is a problem in popular areas of the Lakes, which have over 20 million visitors every year. 2015 figures show that approximately 82% of tourists use a car to get to their destination.

Seathwaite is an area of particular concern, as tourists park their cars there to climb Scafell Pike, the tallest mountain in England.

Banning cars at this location is one of the potential solutions to be discussed at the Lakes Transport Conference, which has been organised by Friends of the Lake District. Other plans to be considered will include encouraging people to visit the park via boats, buses and electric bikes.

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Tourists park in Seathwaite in order to climb Scafell Pike, the tallest peak in England Credit: ITV Border

On their website, the National Trust acknowledges that the area around Seathwaite can become congested and offers advice to visitors as to how they can help to ease the problem.

The roadside at Seathwaite is a really popular place to park if you plan to visit Scafell Pike, Great Gable and other high fells in the Lakes. At busy times, this causes access problems for people who live there including farmers and potentially emergency vehicles. We know from previous experience this road gets particular busy around midsummer's day, bank holidays and Remembrance Sunday.

We are doing everything we can to find a solution for your parking needs, but it will take time. In the meantime, we’d like to ask everyone to do what they can to help ease the pressure of parking in the valley."

– The National Trust website

The Lake District National Park Authority published plans last year aimed at reducing the number of visitors arriving by car from 83% to 64% by 2040.

Local people would still be able to use their cars under the new plans, but there are worries that banning cars would negatively impact local businesses.