With the announcement of the possible development of yet another ‘activity’ hub with two zip wires over Thirlmere (Gazette, July 27 ‘Zip lines plan for the Lakes'’), and given the recent granting of UNESCO World Heritage status to the Lake District, the Lake District National Park Authority should be mindful of its own statutory primary remit, “to protect, preserve and enhance” the Lake District's natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage, and to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the national park by the public.

As a national park, the Lake District has the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. In its planning policies and development control decisions, the LDNPA, when presented with a conflicted choice between conservation and any development that claims to provide public enjoyment, is required to give greater weight to the conservation of the natural beauty of the environment.

The proposal for a fourth 'activity’ hub at Thirlmere, to add to those at Brockhole, Grizedale and Whinlatter, would not only be environmentally inappropriate, but would destroy the very attractions that make the Lake District such a unique destination.

It’s highly probable that it would also lead to the further - unwanted - ‘Disneyfication’ of the Lakes, and thereby seriously undermine the Lake District’s claim to its World Heritage status.

Tellingly, not only does the LDNPA’s declared aspiration to make the Lake District the ‘adventure capital’ of the UK go against its primary guiding principles, but it is also contradicted by the findings of the very surveys that both it and Cumbria Tourism use in defining their aims and objectives.

These surveys regularly show that the vast majority of respondents visit the Lake District because of its outstanding landscape and the tranquility and peace that it offers, while only a tiny percentage come for any adventure activities.

These statistics, published in the LDNPA’s own WHS bid documents, prove that the adrenaline-driven, mimetic add-ons that the LDNPA crave for the park are not actually wanted or welcomed by those who visit the Lakes.

Professor Russell Mills