Boats on Windermere copyright LDNPA

Windermere speed limit

The speed limit of 10 nautical miles per hour on Windermere took effect on 29 March 2005.

Timeline of previous debate and byelaw process

1976: Authority formed a Windermere Joint Steering Committee to undertake a survey and prepare a Lake Management Plan.

1977: Survey showed that on an average day there were 417 craft on the water of which 115 were fast power-boats.

1978: Boat Registration Scheme introduced.

1981: 'Windermere – A Management Plan for the Lake' adopted after consultation.

Joint Liaison Committee of statutory bodies and Windermere User Group of lake user representatives established, replacing the Windermere Joint Steering Committee.

1988: Progress report on the Management Plan published. This identified major difficulties and contrasting requirements of lake users.

1989: Seminar held for all users with an interest in the lake. General consensus that the situation was unacceptable. Additional measures were needed to address problems but no agreement on what measures. Additional byelaw control was seen by all as the key to lake management but the ability to control differing activities, for example, third party insurance, certificates of competence and zoning, could only be pursued with new powers.

1991: Survey of lake use undertaken to compare the volume of lake with 1977. Results confirmed the perception that the lake was now dangerously congested and the increase had exceeded all forecasts. On an average day there were 812 craft on the water, of which 368 were fast power boats. This represented an increase of over 300 per cent in fast power boats since 1977.

By June, negotiations had failed to reconcile conflicting demands of lake-users. Any Management Plan would face two apparently insuperable problems:

  • a) it would be difficult, if not impossible, to secure effective powers that were consistent with the Right of Navigation
  • b) it would be difficult to implement, monitor and enforce such powers.

The National Park Authority considered seeking the powers by promoting a Private Bill but, after debate, favoured a maximum speed limit of 10 mph.

In November the Windermere Commercial Lake Users Group and the Association of Windermere Boat Clubs submitted a discussion paper.

1992: In February the Authority considered the discussion paper but its proposals fell short of others previously considered, requiring primary legislation, which would still have left Windermere dominated by fast power boats. Members resolved to seek a byelaw and in August a byelaw was submitted to the Home Office for confirmation.

1993: In August 1993 the Home Secretary orders a public inquiry.

1994 - 1995: Public Inquiry running from 10 May 1994 to 27 January 1995

1996: Inspector submits Inquiry Report

Government reject byelaw

Authority contests decision and seeks Judicial Review

1997: Government decide not to contest Judicial Review and instead reconsider the Inspector's Report

2000: The Government's Environment Minister, Chris Mullin MP, confirmed new byelaws will come into operation on 29 March 2000, taking effect on 29 March 2005 to allow businesses five years to adapt.

2005: Windermere Management Strategy approved by Lake District National Park Authority and South Lakeland District Council

The new speed limit took effect on 29 March 2005.

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