In June 2019 Friends of the Lake District submitted a formal request to extend the southern boundary of the Lake District National Park to Natural England (NE) for its consideration; Natural England is the government agency with the statutory powers to create a National Park or vary its boundary.
The extension being proposed would incorporate an area of outstanding landscape in the south of Cumbria, its land and its estuaries, increasing the size of the Lake District by 155 km2 increasing its overall area by approximately 6%.
It incorporates the area between Silecroft and Grange-over-Sands, the Millom Without, Furness and Cartmel peninsulas and the majestic estuaries of the Duddon, Leven and Kent rivers, all three of which rise in and traverse the Lake District.
Parish Councils and communities have long been aware of the quality of the landscape of this area and its close relationship and resemblance to the landscape character, geology, geomorphology, cultural history and wildlife of the adjacent National Park.
Although it is 70 years since the National Park and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949 was enacted by Parliament, many communities have retained a pervading sense of unfinished business; the exclusion of the Cartmel Peninsula and Duddon Estuary from the original designations that created the Lake District National Park in 1951.
The Cartmel Peninsula was an area recommended for inclusion in the Lake District National Park in the Report of the National Parks Committee in 1947, (the Hobhouse Report) considered at the time as being of the quality affording National Park status.
The Southern Boundary Partnership (SBP) was formed to learn more about what being in a National Park would mean for residents and businesses and to help build enthusiasm for this change. The group, together with Friends of the Lake District also engaged in informal discussions with local politicians of all parties, local government and a number of non-statutory bodies including the N.F.U., CLA and Cumbria Tourism.
David Savage, Chair of the Southern Boundary Partnership said,
“National Park designation will help to ensure that our spectacular landscape is properly valued and managed appropriately, but it will also deliver a means to positively influence the health of our communities and create an environment that enhances visitor spending and attract new businesses which can help our communities to thrive, but also enhance residents’ quality of life”.
Following research, and with the support of the Southern Boundary Partnership (SBP), Friends of the Lake District have authored and submitted a proposal to Natural England stating that a strong and urgent case can be made for a boundary extension to the Lake District National Park.
The final decision for any extension to the southern boundary of the Lake District will rest with Natural England and the Secretary of State for the Environment, the process could be a protracted one. A substantial consultation would be required and would involve the county council, the district councils, the National Park Authority and parish councils, who have land within the area to be designated. As good practice, Natural England would also, throughout the consultation process, seek engagement with key stakeholders and the general public.
More information can be found at the link below