Cumbria County Council to consider ‘eco-charge’ for the Lake District’s busy roads

Further calls have been made in Cumbria for an eco-charge as a solution to help ease congestion in the Lake District area of the county during busy periods.

Cumbria County Council member for Keswick Tony Lywood is calling for a charge to vehicles from outside Cumbria for the roads that are becoming gridlocked on bank holidays and during bouts of warm weather.

Many visitors have recently been seen travelling to the area’s beauty spots, causing problems on the county’s country roads and in some cases making them impassable to emergency services.

Councillor Lywood said that it would not hamper the county’s vital hospitality industry: “I think the first thing is that we’re not anti-tourist quite the contrary, we want more tourists in the Lake District. What we want to restrict is the two tons of tin they bring with them. We need to look at some form of road charge or eco charge,” reports the News and Star.

A Clean Air Zone has already been established in other parts of the UK including Birmingham as a way of reducing emissions and preventing parts of the city from becoming a “rat run.”

Figures from the city council report that in the first month of operation the daily average number of vehicles entering the Clean Air Zone was between 95,000 – 100,00. During the same period the percentage of vehicles subject to the daily fee reduced from 18.7 per cent in the first two weeks of operation to 12.4 per cent in the final part of the month, following the introduction of payments on June 14 2021.

Birmingham City Council has recorded a marked improvement in air quality

“The legislation is already there.” said councillor Lywood. “Certainly in America when they introduced charges for national parks tourism went up not down. I was trying to get buses to run from the areas of high unemployment such as Cleator Moor and Egremont to areas of low unemployment like Keswick. With the money that is gained from an eco charge we would certainly be able to do that, in my view it’s a win-win situation.”

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