'UNPOPULAR' political decisions will be needed to convert car drivers to cyclists in South Lakeland, a councillor has warned.

Liberal Democrat Phil Dixon has backed new commitments by SLDC to promote and encourage more cycling across the area during the next five years as it seeks to tackle the 'climate emergency'.

But Cllr Dixon, a former cabinet member for health and wellbeing, told a meeting on Tuesday that he was 'glad' some cycle paths were not always universally popular with 'car driving, middle-aged Kendal people'.

Using the comparison of Holland, which made unpopular decisions ahead of the curve in the 1970s, the councillor for Kendal Town said SLDC would need to have strong 'political will' in the years to come.

Cllr Dixon said: "I commend the council on its work and I am grateful to see the cycle path and improved pathway on Shap Road. I recognise that I don't think this is a particularly popular path that we are going down in encouraging cycling. But a council like ours needs to take these difficult political decisions for the long term benefit. I am glad to see us doing things that maybe aren't that popular with car-driving, middle-aged Kendal people, but we have all got to learn to change together."

Ulverston Labour councillor David Webster called on SLDC to introduce more electric-powered vehicles - including making bin and recycling wagons all-electric.

More electric vehicle charging points are also needed on council-run car parks or it will drive away tourists, he said.

"Without those, people using this type of transport are not going to come into this area," said Cllr Webster, who represents Ulverston East.

Cllr Andrew Jarvis, the Liberal Democrat cabinet member for finance, said switching the council's vehicle fleet to electric was something it was exploring.

But it would not work for refuse vehicles, he said.

"The performance of electric refuse trucks at the moment, as I understand, is not adequate for our hilly terrain," said Cllr Jarvis. "The ranges are short which leads to more time back at the depot but we are definitely looking for more environmentally-friendly solutions."

The Shap Road cycle path work has caused some disruption with residents complaining of traffic hold ups.

There have also been hold ups on Burton Road, but Steve Warner, secretary of Oxenholme Residents' Group who is also a keen cyclist said the disruption was something to be endured if Kendal was serious about promoting cycling by the provision of a network of cycle paths.