The Rural Payments Agency (RPA), the body that supports farming and food production in the UK, joined National Park rangers this week on a tour of bridges and footpaths that have been repaired as part of ‘Routes to Resilience’, a £3m flood recovery project.
Announced in November, the £3m pot from the RPA has enabled rangers to begin an 18-month programme to reinstate bridges, repair and improve paths, and replace stiles and gates to improve the access for visitors.
Andy Tordoff, Head of Northern Region for the RPA, also met with businesses from the Lake District National Park Partnership to discuss the future of European funding opportunities for the Lake District. Tourism infrastructure, business development and food processing are all areas that could benefit from current European funding opportunities. The Partnership is also keen to begin initial discussions about the potential impact ahead of the UK departing the EU.
With reference to the Routes to Resilience work Steve Ratcliffe, Director of Sustainable Development at the Lake District National Park, said: “We’ve made an excellent start on our flood recovery project, so it was fantastic to be able to show the RPA our appreciation of the £3million and share some of progress made so far. We are focused on not just repairing the vital rights of way network affected by flooding, but to also make it more resilient for the benefit of our important rural and visitor economy.
“However, £3million wasn’t the total repair bill for the Park following Storm Desmond. So we are continuing to explore funding options to cover the shortfall; this is currently estimated at a further £2m for the rights of way network and £5m for the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path reconnection. In the meantime, we welcome contributions from anyone who would like to help us repair and reconnect the Lake District, this can be easily done by donating through our website: www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/donations”
Photo shows: (right) LDNP Ranger, Dave Bell, shows RPA’s Andy Tordoff (left) the extent of the damage caused to a bridleway at Wain Lane, Troutbeck - a popular tourist route in the south of the Park. Repairs will begin on site within the next couple of weeks to rebuild and reconstruct the bridleway and put in resilience measures to improve the drainage in the lane and adjacent land.