I READ with incredulity the report on plans to double the numbers of tourists coming to Britain and particularly the suggestion Cumbria might be one of the action zones proposed by the government (Gazette, July 25, 'Concern is raised over visitor jump').

Have our politicians, both national and local, lost touch with reality? Have they not heard of climate change?

Air travel is one of the fastest-growing sources of pollution, and unless visitors are to arrive here by cycle or on foot - though possibly this could be what the government expects - those attracted here from China, Asia, the USA and other distant parts of the world must inevitably come by air.

Yet in the next 30 years the total amount of international travel must be drastically reduced if the world is to achieve a real cut in the emission of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.

Furthermore, anyone who has experienced the congestion and overcrowding in the central Lakes will know the very things visitors come to see and experience are being spoilt, overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

Efforts to disperse tourists into outlying parts of the Lake District are unlikely to be successful; inevitably they will gravitate back to the central Lakes. And how are they to reach parts such as the West Coast and edges of Cumbria from their arrival points such as Kendal, Windermere and Barrow except by car, causing a yet further increase in road traffic?

It is quite right people should be encouraged to visit and enjoy our beautiful landscape but this will only be possible in the future if imaginative ways are found to host them and transport them around without destroying the very thing they come to see.

The idea of expanding commercial tourism along current lines and attracting even greater numbers from abroad is a sheer illusion.

Peter D Leeming