Illustration for smarter sustainable travel

Our strategies to look after and improve the Lake District

The National Park statutory purposes and duty, and the World Heritage Site’s Statement of Outstanding Universal Value are the starting point for any management and decision making. We have developed strategies that are here to help guide our decision making to achieve continual improvement and look after the Lake District, just like the strategies in the 2015-2020 Partnership’s Plan did.

As we seek to look after and continually improve the Lake District through positive management we know that there will always be new projects, programmes or proposals that will emerge over the next five years. These strategies will allow us to form a view as to whether it is something we should be supporting where it helps to deliver the Vision and its outcomes; where we should be requesting changes; or where we should be recommending something should not take place due to the harm it could result in.

In addition, the strategies show how our decisions can support our contributions to delivering our Vision and to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The actions resulting from the key challenges and local action and delivery will help to secure the ambitions of these strategies.

Annex 1 shows how the strategies will continue to conserve and enhance the Outstanding Universal Value and Special Qualities of the Lake District, and highlight some of the activities that are taking place across individual organisations which contribute towards delivering these strategies.

Links to the full strategies below

Vision Theme: Spectacular landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage

Vision Theme: Vibrant communities and a prosperous economy

Vision theme: A world class visitor experience

Vision Theme: Spectacular landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage

1. A world-class living cultural landscape of exceptional beauty

Our Strategy is to:

a. Protect and conserve the extraordinary beauty and harmony of the Lake District landscape and attributes of Outstanding Universal Value and Special Qualities:

  • i. By using and promoting the Lake District Landscape Character Assessment and Heritage Impact Assessments to inform land management and development management decisions to achieve a consistent, evidence-based approach.
  • ii. By increased coordinated management, understanding and appreciation of the landscape character at a valley scale. We will encourage local approaches to landscape management informed by the Landscape Character Assessment, our World Heritage Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, the World Heritage Nomination Dossier and monitoring landscape change.

b. Support the maintenance of traditional upland farming systems in the Lake District based on the open fell hefted grazing of local breeds of livestock including the Herdwick sheep, and commons management.

c. Lead action to adapt to Climate Change through land management practices and mitigate the predicted effects of climate change, by reducing the Lake District’s carbon budget and working towards net zero carbon, whilst also sustaining and increasing the resilience of the Special Qualities and attributes of Outstanding Universal Value.

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2. Sustained distinctive and well maintained built and historic environment and landscape

Our Strategy is to:

a. Develop and maintain an awareness and understanding of the nature, extent, significance and condition of the built and historic environment. It will inform Conservation Management Plans, Conservation Area Management Plans, the Historic Environment Record, and the local and national registers of Heritage at Risk.

b. Develop projects and programmes for the coordinated management, conservation, enjoyment and understanding of built and historic environment assets, giving priority to attributes of Outstanding Universal Value, and according to significance and condition of asset.

c. Encourage and support design which is inspired by and complements the Special Qualities and attributes of Outstanding Universal Value of the Lake District’s cultural landscape, guided by the principles within the Local Plan.

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3. Wise use of geology contributing to local and national needs and demands

Our Strategy is to:

Support the extraction of building stone and slate where this is principally needed to maintain the Special Quality of ‘distinctive buildings and settlement character’ and attributes of Outstanding Universal Value, in line with policies of the Local Plan.

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4. Improved water quality and resources in lakes, tarns, rivers, ground waters, and sea

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support interventions that help to achieve ‘good’ or better than ‘good’ water quality as defined by the Water Framework Directive in all lakes, rivers, tarns, and ground waters including achieving the optimum quality, diversity and extent of habitats and species.

b. Sustain water resources in all lakes, rivers, tarns and ground waters including managing the extreme of high and low water levels and flows to achieve optimum ecological habitats and populations. We will protect the environment, biodiversity, landscape, and public rights of use, including navigation while also meeting water supply needs.

c. Support interventions that help to achieve the highest attainable sea water quality including meeting targets for protected sites.

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5. Well considered tree and woodland establishment and improvement

Our Strategy is to:

a. Maximise the number of established woodlands that are well managed. Priority will be given to semi-natural woodland and other identified woodland where there is a significant opportunity to enhance their resilience and contribution to the landscape including the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value, biodiversity, recreation, historic environment, flood prevention, carbon storage, and productivity.

b. Support the establishment of new tree cover at a locally agreed scale throughout the Lake District. There will be a particular focus to achieve the optimum balance between timber production, flood prevention, carbon storage, water quality, soil stability, biodiversity, historic environment, conservation of the cultural landscape, recreation, loss of grazing land, landscape change, hefting, and communal management of common land, where relevant.

c. Support a coordinated approach to increasing the resilience of woodlands by managing the spread of disease in tree species, increase resilience to pests, and take a planned approach to landscape restoration if and where required.

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6. Resilient and well-functioning habitats and wildlife

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support interventions that help to achieve bigger, better and more joined up resilient habitats and species in line with the 25 Year Environment Plan, national and international targets to enhance biodiversity, using an ‘ecosystem approach’.

b. Support projects that help to restore protected sites, priority habitats and species, including locally native species most in need of appropriate management measures.

c. Encourage sustainable soil management by developing improved understanding of soils and conserving and enhancing the quality, stability and function of soils.

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7. The continuation of the Lake District as a source of artistic, literary, and cultural inspiration

Our Strategy is to:

a. Realise and support opportunities for continued inspiration from the cultural landscape and rich heritage by further understanding and celebrating the breadth and depth of artistic and cultural inspiration through relevant strategies and engagement with communities.

b. Conserve, maintain, manage and make use of cultural heritage assets through supporting and promoting how these assets are understood and interpreted, which will support the growth of cultural tourism in the Lake District.

c. Sustain and promote the relationship between people and landscapes by creating opportunities for inspiration through further developing visitor experiences and locally-led initiatives and events.

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8. Engender a strong sense of pride and ownership of the local environment and its distinctive character

Our Strategy is to:

a. Promote local understanding and increase responsibility for what makes a place special.

b. Celebrate and support the continuation of local cultural traditions, skills and activities to pass them onto future generations.

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9. Improve air quality

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support initiatives that reduce nitrogen deposition on sensitive habitats and species in order to meet favourable conservation status.

b. Support initiatives that reduce key pollutants contribution to background atmospheric levels

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Vision Theme: Vibrant communities and a prosperous economy

10. Profitable land management, farming, and forestry industries maintaining traditional land based skills and sustaining our agro-pastoral farming system

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support and encourage initiatives that ensure farming, forestry and land management remain or become profitable through diversifying their income, adding value to their products, collaboration, securing efficiency savings and identifying and establishing new markets.

b. Secure relevant opportunities for farming, forestry and land management businesses to access advice and funding that transforms businesses to remain or become profitable and resilient to economic shocks and climate change.

c. Maximise opportunities provided through funding incentives for investment in natural capital, eco system services, climate resilience, landscape conservation and ‘payment for public goods’ schemes available for farming, forestry and land management.

d. Support and encourage young people into farming, forestry and land management, to maintain traditional skills and develop new ones to accrue the knowledge necessary for the maintenance of our cultural landscape and delivery of a ‘public payment for public goods’ agenda. We will support the retention of farming and land management education provision that meets the need of the farming, forestry and land management community.

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11. Growing a sustainable Lake District visitor economy

Our Strategy is to:

a. Ensure the Lake District visitor economy continues to grow by attracting UK and overseas visitors, encouraging longer and overnight stays.

b. Support initiatives that promote the Lake District as a year-round destination to a range of audiences at different times of year, with a particular focus on the experiences offered by:

  • i. Landscape and environment
  • ii. Culture and heritage
  • iii. Adventure
  • iv. Hospitality, food and drink.

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12. Access to services

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support complete coverage of superfast broadband, mobile telephone, and 4G and 5G mobile internet coverage to all premises in every valley. This will connect customers to businesses and provide the widest choice of location for businesses and residents, and reduce the need to travel for work/business.

b. Sustain local service provision, particularly in Rural Service Centres and Villages, by seeking to achieve a sufficient population of all ages.

c. Support initiatives throughout the Lake District which provide access to a wider range of services, including mobile services, and the multi-use of community buildings and business premises.

d. Support provision for residents and visitors alike to have access to healthcare services and facilities that meet their essential needs.

e. Support improvements to visitor transport services in ways that also benefit residents wherever possible.

f. Support community led initiatives to improve access to services, housing and transport, guided by the Local Plan.

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13. Access to a range of employment opportunities

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support the promotion of the Lake District as a desirable place to locate businesses on the basis of digital infrastructure, workforce, quality of life and high quality environment and cultural heritage, using the Local Plan to guide investment decisions.

b. Promote Rural Service Centres as locations for business where the travel and accommodation needs for employees can be most easily be met. We will do this through:

  • i. A supportive planning process.
  • ii. Support community led initiatives within communities that improve access to and between Rural Service Centres, main travel routes, and their hinterlands.

c. Maintain the supply of suitable available employment land and buildings in Rural Service Centres throughout the Lake District, guided by the Local Plan.

d. Maximise the Lake District’s potential for green economic growth through for example, natural capital investments to embed green recovery and increase jobs and investment.

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14. Availability and supply of a full range of housing types, sizes and tenures to meet local needs

Our Strategy is to:

a. Proactively respond to changing housing market conditions and national policies relating to housing, to ensure that local community needs are met.

b. Maintain a supply of suitable available land for housing to meet local needs focussed within Rural Service Centres and Villages, as identified in the Local Plan.

c. Support small scale housing schemes, including community led schemes, to meet local needs in appropriate locations, guided by the adopted Local Plan.

d. Ensure the work of housing authorities, enablers and housing providers is coordinated to maximise the delivery of new affordable housing.

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15. A high proportion of housing in permanent occupation

Our Strategy is to:

a. Ensure new homes contribute to community vibrancy by requiring their permanent occupancy, as part of the planning consent.

b. Support appropriate ways to tackle excessive numbers of empty and, or ‘holiday houses’ where this occurs. This is to ensure a sufficiently high proportion of existing houses are permanently occupied.

c. Empower local communities by maintaining a compliance planning tool which enables the reporting of suspected breaches of local occupancy conditions.

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16. Access to high quality amenity and recreation green spaces, public realm, public rights of way, and facilities

Our Strategy is to:

a. Protect amenity and recreation green spaces and facilities from other forms of development using the Local Plan.

b. Promote healthy living by supporting the Cumbria wide public health strategy, and projects and initiatives that improve the quality of amenity and recreation green spaces.

c. Continue to develop and maintain a high quality public rights of way network, including supporting the Fix the Fells Partnership.

d. Support projects that secure high quality public realm and amenities, prioritising improvements in locations where these are deficient.

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17. Increased resilience to flooding

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support projects that provide the optimum solution to flood resilience for the catchment as a whole, balancing the need to reduce flood risk in towns and villages against potential impacts up and down stream, including on agricultural land, and sustaining the Special Qualities and attributes of Outstanding Universal Value.

b. Mitigate and adapt to the increased likelihood and severity of flooding that is predicted to result from climate change. Support measures that increase the resilience to flooding including slowing surface water run-off by increasing absorption and storage, or protecting settlements with hard defences whilst sustaining the Special Qualities and attributes of Outstanding Universal Value.

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18. Sustained major industries and provision of infrastructure outside the Lake District

Our Strategy is to:

Recognise the importance of nuclear and low carbon energy industries in West Cumbria and other major economic investments in Cumbria. Where they do not prejudice the Lake District, its setting, Special Qualities, attributes of Outstanding Universal Value, or visitor economy we will assist with the development of proposals for associated infrastructure.

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19. Addressing workforce and skills gaps

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support initiatives that maintain a working age population which can provide a workforce for existing and new businesses.

b. Support initiatives that address skills gaps in the local workforce, including delivery of Cumbria’s Local Industrial Strategy via its Sector Panels and Strategy Groups.

c. Support initiatives that attract working aged people to live in the Lake District and support the delivery of Cumbria’s Local Industrial Strategy through its Sector Panels and Strategy Groups.

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20. Supporting businesses with advice and access to investment opportunities

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support initiatives that ensure businesses have easy access to a wide range of support and advice, including relating to the Government’s Agricultural Transition Plan 2021-2024 through appropriate bodies, such as the Cumbria Business Growth Hub.

b. Support the development of programmes of investment opportunities that encourage further appropriate economic development in the Lake District.

c. Promote the Lake District World Heritage Site marketing toolkit to businesses to utilise and promote their products.

d. Support provision of business advice and support to start–ups.

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21. Energy efficiency, and reasonable fuel and energy costs

Our Strategy is to:

Support initiatives and projects, guided by planning policies, which improve the energy efficiency and reduce the cost and need for fuel and, or energy. This includes energy efficiency measures and community-scale energy generation (e.g. small scale hydro schemes) that will contribute to reducing the Lake District’s Carbon Budget and achieving net zero carbon in the Lake District whilst sustaining attributes of Outstanding Universal Value and Special Qualities.

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22. An effective and integrated transport infrastructure supporting low carbon travel options

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support improvements to the Cumbria Coast and Furness rail lines, the Lakes Line and Windermere ferry where they contribute to an integrated transport service and do not prejudice the Lake District’s Special Qualities and attributes of Outstanding Universal Value.

b. Ensure that maintenance and development of transport infrastructure allows for the delivery of enhanced transport services to and within the Lake District.

c. Support development and delivery of infrastructure and services to enable low carbon and active travel (including cycling and walking infrastructure, electric vehicles, electric bikes and other modes of transport), and more people to reach the Lake District by rail and integrated onward travel.

d. Support initiatives that revolutionise how visitors and residents travel using smart tech developments, including shared transport, mobility as a service and travel information.

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Vision theme: A world class visitor experience

23. Opportunities to discover, appreciate and experience a unique, rich cultural landscape

Our Strategy is to:

a. Ensure that every visitor has the best experience through the breadth of activity for visitors that benefit their health and wellbeing, and enhance understanding and appreciation of the attributes of Outstanding Universal Value and Special Qualities of the Lake District.

Landscape and environment

  • i. Promote and sustain the Lake District as a place to experience a unique landscape and environment in a variety of ways, offering opportunities for experiencing, tranquillity, peacefulness, spiritual refreshment, dark skies, and wildlife.
  • ii. Support the maintenance of routes so people can explore and enjoy, ensuring appropriate management practises where necessary.

Culture and heritage

Support the conservation and enhancement, and promotion of cultural heritage assets to improve learning and understanding.

Adventure

  • i. Support and promote new and existing opportunities for outdoor adventure on foot, bicycles, ropes, in and on water, and through events – all sensitive to the unique landscape.
  • ii. Support organised events where they are sensitively managed and where the organisers have undertaken community engagement and consultation, and developed event management plans.

Hospitality, food and drink

  • i. Encourage a consistently high standard of hospitality.
  • ii. Celebrate the provenance and quality of Cumbria’s food and drink by supporting the showcasing and marketing of local produce available in the Lake District to raise its profile through the World Heritage Site brand.

b. Promote the Lake District as a place for everyone to enjoy and appreciate, and to support the nation’s health and wellbeing. We want to ensure a range of experiences, easy access to and around the Lake District, quality public realm and amenities, available and accessible information, and outreach work to support visitation.

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24. Ensure responsible visiting

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support opportunities to embed understanding and appreciation of the Outstanding Universal Value and Special Qualities of the Lake District, and Countryside Code, tailored to the needs of different audiences.

b. Support opportunities for people to give in order to significantly increase the amount of voluntary contributions made by visitors. These will be used to sustain, maintain and improve the Lake District’s environment and the landscape.

c. Ensure visitors are able to easily access relevant information in a variety of ways and languages.

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25. Provision of a diverse range of high quality accommodation to suit all budgets

Our Strategy is to:

a. Support the evolution of all types of visitor accommodation, to meet continuously changing domestic and international visitor expectations guided by appropriately supportive planning policies.

b. Support skills training to improve the quality of the hospitality sector.

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Help shape the plan - our shared plan for the Lake District

Thank you for sharing your views

This consultation closed at midday Wednesday 23 June 2021, thank you to everyone who gave their views.

The Partnership are now analysing the responses and will update the Plan for adoption later in the year.