15th November 2018

Friends of the Lake District is concerned about the basis for the decision to approve an application for a  Dual Purpose Aerial Wire at Honister Slate Mine, and has requested that the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government “calls in” this application. This means we have asked that the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) is prevented from granting permission and for the application to be determined instead by the Secretary of State. 

We have done this because we believe the decision was contrary to legislation relating to National Parks and to national and local planning policy. The Sandford Principle requires that in National Parks, where there is a conflict between economic and landscape interests, the requirement to conserve and enhance the landscape must be given greater weight. In coming to their decision, the LDNPA gave significant weight was to the economic benefits of the proposal, but limited value was placed on the non-visual aspects of landscape character. 

The decision was contrary to both the Authority’s own officer recommendations and Natural England’s objection on landscape impact grounds. The application has also been determined before a legally required assessment of the proposal’s impact on sites of international biodiversity importance has been concluded. 

We should also say that other concerned organisations support our view and that some are taking similar action.


7th November 2018

Planning Application: Aerial Flight at Honister Slate Mine - APPROVED

Friends of the Lake District considers there to be little justification for the Lake District National Park Authority Members ignoring the advice of its Planning Officer and agreeing to this development. We consider this to be a highly sensitive location and that this development will have a detrimental impact on the landscape character, tranquillity and biodiversity of the area. 

Both lines are intended to be used for the movement of stone and the shorter line is to be accessible for all including those who may not be able to access the full via ferrata. The applicant contends that the new uses outweigh the detrimental impacts of the proposal. Whilst the two proposed new uses of the wire are commendable in terms of supporting the existing business use of the site and providing a new experience in the Lake District which is accessible for all, in our opinion, they do not outweigh the detrimental impacts of the scheme. 

We consider the zip wire to be an inappropriate addition to the offering which will result in unacceptable detrimental landscape impacts. 

Our main concerns are:

  • The conflicts with the National Park purposes
  • The landscape and visual impacts of the development in this high fell landscape
  • Impacts upon tranquillity by means of incongruous noise and movement at the site
  • Transport impacts on the local road network
  • Potential impacts upon open access land.

Additionally, we feel that the application failed to provide sufficient information regarding the potential number of users, particularly on the additional shorter line. Whilst the capacity of the ‘main’ line is limited by the numbers of people completing the via ferrata there will be no such restriction on the shorter line and it is likely to become a popular attraction in its own right. The application did not address this issue and we are now concerned that this development will intensify the tourism and recreation activity on the site and create additional noise and traffic impacts. 

We also have major concerns relating to the potential for adverse impacts on international biodiversity designations; concerns shared by Natural England in its response to this application.


17th October 2018

Honister – decision to be made on 7th November.  We have submitted a response to the recent extra consultation on the application, making clear that our concerns about the impacts on the landscape, tranquillity and biodiversity of the area remain. This is despite additional information being provided by the applicant that did clarify some of the queries we had raised in our earlier objection. We are pleased to see that Natural England has also responded to this extra consultation and that they share our concerns relating to the potential impact on international biodiversity designations.  

13th September 2018

A further consultation is underway on proposals for a zip-wire at Honister Slate Mine. The proposals were submitted to the Lake District National Park Authority in January, but following comments received during consultation, the applicants were asked to provide further details of their plans.

Now that this extra information has been received, people are being given a further chance to comment.

Friends of the Lake District objected to the proposals due to impacts on landscape character, visual amenity and the tranquillity of the area and will be commenting again at this stage.

The application can be viewed on www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/planningsearch  The reference number is 7/2018/2011.

The consultation closes on 8 October 2018 and comments can be made by emailing [email protected]  or by writing to Lake District National Park Authority, Murley Moss, Kendal, LA9 7RL.

It is expected that a decision on the proposals will be made at the Lake District National Park Authority’s Development Control Committee meeting on 7 November 2018.

you'll find more detailed instructions on how to submit your own comments here>


13th March 2018

Written response submitted to the planning authority by Friends of the Lake District

We have now written and submitted a full response to the planning authority which is now available to view / download at the link below:

7 2018 2011 Honister Zip Wire application FLD response.pdf

23rd February 2018

Planning Update: Honister Aerial Flight

As you may be aware, another application has been submitted by Honister Slate Mine for an aerial flight (zip wire). Whilst the line of the wire remains the same as the 2012 application (7/2012/2243) the applicant considers the proposal to be different from previous applications because:

  1. The wire would be dual purpose and used to transport slate from the mine opening
  2. The secondary shorter line at the intermediate point will be accessible for all enabling disabled users and younger children to participate in the zip wire attraction. 

We recognise that both of these added uses are commendable in terms of supporting the existing business use of the site and providing a new experience in the Lake District which is accessible for all. 

However, we do not consider that these additional uses outweigh the detrimental impacts of the proposal which have previously resulted in the application being refused.

We have carefully assessed the proposals, visited the site and, as an organisation which advocates for the landscape, we have taken the decision to object to the submitted proposals.

Our main concerns are:

  • The conflicts with the National Park purposes
  • The landscape and visual impacts of the development in this high fell landscape
  • Impacts upon tranquillity by means of incongruous noise and movement at the site
  • Transport impacts on the local road network
  • Potential impacts upon open access land.

We consider that the application does not provide sufficient information regarding the potential number of users, particularly on the additional shorter line. Whilst the capacity of the ‘main’ line is limited by the numbers of people completing the via ferrata there would be no such restriction on the shorter line and it is likely to become a popular attraction in its own right.

The application does not address this issue and we are concerned that this would intensify the tourism and recreation activity on the site and create additional noise and traffic impacts.

Whilst we commend Honister Slate Mine for their diversification at the site, including the mine tours and via ferrata, we consider that the zip wire is an inappropriate addition to the offering which will result in unacceptable detrimental landscape impacts.

From previous applications, we expect and respect that not everyone may agree with our position. Although we object as an organisation, we are encouraging our membership, and members of the public, to engage in the planning process whatever their view.

The best way to make your voice heard is to write to the Lake District National Park Authority (the planning authority) with your views on the application. Anyone can make comments on a planning application regardless of where you live, and whether you are objecting to or supporting the proposal.

You should email any comments to [email protected] and include Planning Reference Number 7/2018/2011 in your correspondence. The closing date for comments is 26th March 2018. You can also write to the planning authority. We've included some additional notes in the link below which also includes instructions for viewing or downloading this planning application.

Additional Guidance on submitting comments to the Planning Authority>

And finally, we will be making our full written response available online once it has been submitted to the planning authority.

26th January 2018

We have been made aware that the planning proposal detailed below is now live and available to view online at the LDNPA planning portal.

7/2018/2011  (Full Planning application)
Dual purpose aerial wire for extraction of stone and tourism use
Honister Slate Mine, Honister Pass, Borrowdale, Keswick, CA12 5XN

View the application

We have been invited to consult on the application and now that we are in receipt, we will be assessing as soon as possible. We will not be commenting on the application until we have thoroughly read and assessed the proposal.

We have engaged with the applicants when they have requested and we will be interested to see if our advice has been incorporated into the development of the proposals.

12th January 2018

We are aware that Honister Slate Mine has submitted an application for a new zip wire. We will assess the proposal fully once sumbission has been processed and application is made available for download by the planning authority.

26th April 2017

We are aware that Honister Slate Mine is progressing an application for a new zip wire due to be submitted imminently . We have had pre application discussions with the applicants and their agent. We will assess the proposal fully once submitted. Given the likely interest in this proposal we intend to make our response available on this website page at the earliest opportunity.