AN OUTDOOR leisure company has released details of an online poll which shows it has public support for a controversial zip line activity it wants to create in the heart of the Lakes.

Treetop Trek Ltd revealed that more than 60 per cent of respondents to the survey were in favour of its plans for two "world class zip line experiences" and an 18km long family-friendly cycle way at Thirlmere.

The web poll, which ran from July 27 to September 8, had 2,323 respondents. Of these, 1,412 said they were in favour of the Thirlmere Activity Hub, 766 were against and 145 undecided.

The detailed figures, revealed this week, equate to 61 per cent of respondents being in favour of the proposal. Treetop Trek said most enthusiastic support came from people in the age range 31-45 whereas most respondents over 59 were against the proposal.

Concern about the impact of the zip lines has been raised by Friends of the Lake District and members of a Facebook page called 'Zip Off'.

They claim the lines would create noise and distractions and be out of place in the national park.

In a statement, the company said of the survey: "What people liked, or didn’t like about the scheme, has been used to help shape Treetop Trek Ltd’s proposals, which the final planning application will reflect. A full breakdown of consultation findings will also be included.

"The proposed development has been designed to attract all ages, but especially to attract younger families and young adults to counter a marked decline in these visitor groups in recent years.

"Since 2006, the proportion of visitors over the age of 45 has risen from 62 per cent to 71 per cent and 68 per cent of visitors to the Lake District classed as 'post family' meaning they are over 35 and visiting without children."

Mike Turner of Treetop Trek said: "When we analysed the results what stood out immediately was the huge difference in preference by age groups - people aged between 31-45 were four and a half times more likely to support the development than be against it, while those aged over 59 were twice as likely to be against it."

Treetop Trek has said the Thirlmere Activity Hub would create 53 local jobs and generate an extra £600,000 spent in the local economy annually.