Coronavirus: Calls for PM to define what 'local area' means for exercise

A South Lakes MP has written to the Prime Minister asking for a 'clear definition' of what a 'local area' means when it comes to exercising during lockdown.

Currently, Government guidance states that “leaving home to exercise should be done locally wherever possible but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary.”

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron is calling on Boris Johnson to give immediate clarity on exactly how far people are allowed to travel.

It comes after Cumbria Police spoke to around 560 people over the weekend about breaking lockdown rules and issued 60 fines. This included those who had travelled hundreds of miles to exercise in the Lake District.

Tim said: “Outdoor exercise is so important for both our physical and mental health.

“But the Government’s very muddy guidance means we have this ludicrous situation where the police are reporting that people are travelling to the Lake District from as far away as Sheffield and Northamptonshire for exercise, while other people are unsure whether they allowed to drive five minutes down the road for a walk in their local park.

“A clear definition of how far we can travel for exercise would give people certainty about what they are able to do while at the same time helps us to stop the spread of this deadly virus."

Speaking to ITV Border, Assistant chief constable Andy Slattery said police issued a record number of fines over the weekend.

He said: "We've had examples this weekend of a young man travelling from Scotland to Carlisle, picked his friend up and then drove down to Southwaite Services to see if the Burger King was open.

"That is not a reasonable excuse to leave your home. People travelling in multi-household groups in the same vehicle into the Lake District to exercise.

"The new variant spread very quickly here from the South East and that was spread by people moving around the country.

"But of course if people live in an urban centre it's perfectly reasonable to drive a short distance to access the nearest available space for them. That doesn't mean travelling a hundred miles or more up to the Lake District to exercise."