EFFORTS to clamp down on drivers leaving vehicles overnight in Lake District car parks are being made.

The Lake District National Park has introduced 24-hour charging at its car parks. Previously it was free to park between 6pm and 9am.

Tracy Coward, the chair of Coniston Parish Council, said the area had been having increased issues with irresponsible parking - and people had left a mess after using the car parks to overnight camp. 

The Parish Council requested that LDNPA looked into finding a solution.

Ms Coward said: "I think particularly after Covid the Lake District has become increasingly open. It does appear to be on peak days where there are problems. 

"Sometimes when there is parking available people want to park for free in residential areas. It is not as easy as just opening up a new car park as it encourages more people to drive.

 "There has been an increasing problem with people using the car parks for overnight camping. Littering and human waste - it's absolutely disgusting for locals. I believe that is why they introduced it to look at dealing with that."

The Westmorland Gazette: Tracy Coward is the chair of Coniston Parish CouncilTracy Coward is the chair of Coniston Parish Council (Image: Submitted)

A new residents permit allowing them to park in Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA)-owned car parks with no charge between 6pm and 9am, seven days a week including bank holidays, has now also been introduced.

These permits will be issued to a nominated car registration and sent to a Lake District address. 

READ MORE: Cumbria County Council cracks down on bad parking in Lake District

A LDNPA spokesman said: “Following a review of our car parking tariffs, we have now brought in 24-hour tariffs on our pay and display car parks. The 24-hour tariff replaces our previous all-day tariff - so people can now park for 24 hours instead of 12 for only 50p more.

"This new charging regime helps both to enforce against those people who are breaking the rules and, for example, are staying overnight in car parks and encourages people to park for longer and travel sustainably around the park."The new permits apply to people who live in the Lake District boundary and allow for off-peak parking to continue to be free. Our local communities do a lot to help look after this special place and we were glad to help.”

The Westmorland Gazette: Emergency vehicles often struggle to get past poorly parked carsEmergency vehicles often struggle to get past poorly parked cars

Ms Coward advocates higher public bodies looking into transport alternatives such as a Park and Ride system in the future. She admitted that public transport currently 'isn't good enough' in the Lakes.

Andrew Jarvis, Westmorland and Furness councillor for Windermere and Ambleside, said: "Frankly it is not parking in the evenings that is the problem - it is parking on holiday days. I feel sorry for residents that are finding their roads blocked. At times it is very, very difficult we have got too many cars. We need to get people to visit other areas."

Mr Jarvis said that the public bus service through the central Lakes is 'pretty good' but he wants a passing lane on the Windermere train line. This would allow more than one train to use the branch line. 

The Westmorland Gazette: Windermere and Ambleside councillor Andrew Jarvis said 'there are too many cars' Windermere and Ambleside councillor Andrew Jarvis said 'there are too many cars' (Image: Archive)