15 August 2018
Steve Tatlock, Park Management Team Leader for the Lake District National Park said:
We were pleased to see the success of the recent tests of Bluebird K7 on Loch Fad on the Isle of Bute which showed off the hard work of the Bluebird Project Team.
In light of this success we have been asked when Bluebird is going to return to Coniston water, hopefully to run at speed as she has done on Loch Fad. Running on Coniston water is more challenging to manage than on Loch Fad which is a privately owned water which can be closed to all users by the owner.
Unlike Loch Fad, Coniston water enjoys an open right of navigation, which means it cannot be closed to anyone who can legally access the water. Running Bluebird, or any other craft, at speed on Coniston water would mean having to navigate ferries, sailing boats, kayakers and swimmers and all water users.
In 2010 the byelaws were changed following extensive consultation to create a safe frame work to allow Bluebird to run at speed. Part of this frame work is the production of a rigorous safety plan.
Power-boating and the desire to set new records has been a part of the cultural history of the Lake District for nearly 100 years and we recently granted an exemption to the byelaws for the Jaguar Vector Project to successfully break the electric world speed record on Coniston Water earlier this year. We will use this model of public consultation and assessment to evaluate any application to run Bluebird K7 at speed.
We fully recognise the benefits for the local community and visitors of Bluebird returning to Coniston and have been working with South Lakeland District Council and the Bluebird Event Group to support and identify event management requirements, including safety and environmental operations, to allow the Bluebird K7 project to successfully plan and run the event.
The Bluebird Event Group which is made up of volunteers and supported by Coniston Parish Council is looking to work with the Bluebird Project, local people, business, enthusiasts from around the world and of course the Campbell family who all wish to see Bluebird returned to her spiritual home. In practical terms this means creating the safety plan and applying for an exemption to the speed limit to allow Bluebird to return to Coniston water and her permanent purpose built home in the Ruskin Museum in Coniston village.
The efforts of the Bluebird K7 group to recover Bluebird and her pilot Donald Campbell was the start of a long journey which will hopefully end with Bluebird resting in Coniston, just a stone’s throw from where Donald Campbell already lies.
We remain committed to supporting this ambition and hope to see Bluebird K7 return on Coniston Water in the future.
Find out more about the Bluebird Project Byelaws Consultation.