A MOVE to withdraw South Lakeland District Council's backing of the controversial 10nmph speed limit on Windermere has been rejected.

Members of SLDC's Lake Administration Committee voted 11 to one to maintain its support of the decade-old limit and instead pledged to do more to help support new activities in a bid to boost the local economy.

Some businesses argued the limit has stopped high-spending adventure tourists from visiting while others say it has made the lake safer for groups including swimmers and also kept noise levels down.

The debate came after the committee asked for research into how the speed limit has affected businesses since it was introduced back in 2005.

But a report which went before councillors said it would be too difficult to separate the impact caused by the limit and that caused by other economic factors, such as the recession.

Councillors were presented with three options to consider:

* Ask full council to drop their support of the speed limit and campaign to have it repealed.

* Continue to support the speed limit but work with partners such as the National Park Authority to boost trade.

* Do nothing.

After a two hour debate in which councillors clashed over the knock-on effects of the limit, the overwhelming vote was cast.

It will mean the council will push for exemptions to be simplified and reduced in cost to help encourage more activity on the lake.

Cllr Ben Berry proposed an option one hybrid where the speed limit was raised and safeguards were put in place over safety, noise, competency, insurance and fees - but it received no support. He was then the only one to vote against the officer's recommendation of option two.

While Cllr Adrian Legge, who abstained from the vote, said: "It is a great shame on a summer's weekend that there so few boats on the lake compared to the Italian lakes where there are thousands."

Cllr Stan Collins, who voted for option two, said: "If there is a feeling we should change the entire tourism strategy so that it is encouraging another type of activity on the lake then let somebody make a proper case backed up by evidence.

MORE TOP STORIES: "All I see is a wish to go back and reverse something that cost us a great deal of money which would introduce uncertainty over a long period and uncertainty is the worst thing that could happen for businesses."

Cllr David Evans said businesses had 'evolved' and the lake is 'moving in a direction where it is becoming successful again'.

While the committee, which oversees the council's interest of the lake, is able to make recommendations, it would have been up to the authority's full council to push through any changes to policy.

And any changes to the by-law would require ratification from the Lake District National Park Authority, and DEFRA, the meeting heard.