Self Catering in The Lake District

Self Catering in The Lake District
Lake District Holiday Cottages

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lake Windermere - Powerboats and the Law

Lake Windermere - Powerboats and the Law.

So there is a speed limit on Windermere is there? You wouldn't believe it at the moment.

Last weekend Windermere was quite busy. Not busy like it was before the imposition of the speed limit, but busy all the same. the most striking observation though was with regard to the number of powered boats flagrantly flouting the speed limit.

There were many boats traveling around together, speeding well in excess of the 10 Knot limit. There was also, in the northern basin of the lake, at the same time a Lake District National Park Warden. His only motive for being there seemed to be a yacht which had lost its engine. Aren't they meant to use their sails anyway?

As a long time opponent of the speed limit it saddens me that it has come to this. As a law abiding citizen I have not and do not intend to break this law. However it is a sad state of affairs when a large number of minority groups come together to force a legal change and then patently fail to make sure that their hard work is rewarded by the result they fought so hard to engineer in the first place.

The future of Windermere as a popular tourism spot is not dependent on whether there is a speed limit or not on Windermere; no, it is much more dependent on the quality of facilities such as Information centers, the provision of lavatories, the wet weather attractions for children and adults and the general condition of the popular areas.

Take for example the imaginative plans for Waterhead and Lakeside. These are multi-million pound investment opportunities that should not be squandered. As a group of local people we should show just as much interest in these as the time we spent arguing about the imposition of a speed limit on the Lake. The problem is that the so called 'Friends of the Lake District' and the numerous minority groups that go under the same umbrella do not show the same doggedness.

Why is there no real outcry over the new plans?

Simple really, NIMBY. So many of the groups that fought for the speed limit imposition on Windermere had an axe to grind. the early morning water skiers, personal watercraft in among their yachts, huge wash from over sized motor yachts all added fuel to the personal fires that were simmering in this minority of protagonists. If only a managed solution could have been considered. One that may well have been able to deal with the current problems around Windermere such as motorbikes, bad design and terrible planning around the three tourism areas of Bowness, Lakeside and Waterhead.

Motorbikes are only a point made because, yet again, a small minority choose to fit 'silencers' that do nothing of the sort! The vast majority are perfectly welcome and should be encouraged as a suitable source of income to the area.

The future of power boating on Windermere?

Goodness knows. The author will still remain a law abiding citizen. Will his children as they grow to have more autonomy? I suggest not, because if their is an institutional failure to address the breaking of the speed limit laws on Windermere, then those institutions fail to provide leadership to the visitors to the lake and all semblance of a sensible boating operation will be lost.

Can a negotiated and successful legal and financial alternative be found? If this went back to a Public inquiry, I think not. There are still so many polarized positions taken by the various different users of the lake that it would become drowned in anger and ire. Should an imposition be made through the bye-laws opening up the lake to more use by boats traveling faster than 10 knots? I don't know.

We live in a democratic world, but who is the democracy in this area? Is it the locals who reside here and yearn for all the tourists to disappear? (Well those who don't profit from them at least)? Or should the democracy really be the people of The United Kingdom? After all it is a National Park, set up not just for the benefit of the few 1000 that live within sight or earshot of Windermere, but for all the country to enjoy.

It isn't for the author to decide, luckily. Nor is it an easy decision, but in the era of environmental protection and the all the PC behavior that exudes from all things environmental, isn't it now time to start encouraging those who fly for thousands of miles to stay at home, use our beautiful resources in a fair and shared manner rather than excluding them and re-address the postion of Windermere among the jewels of the United Kingdom crown?