Friends of the Lake District was launched at a Keswick rally in 1934 to safeguard the Lake District landscape forever. We take action to protect and enhance some of England's most spectacular and precious scenery. One of our first campaigns was to establish a National Park in Cumbria. Ever since the creation of the Lake District National Park, we have been Friends, and we have campaigned to both strengthen the Park (by giving it planning powers in 1995) and expand it (which we achieved in 2016). In Friends of the Lake District’s 2024 ‘manifesto for Cumbrian Landscapes’ the charity calls for a doubling of funding for the Lake District National Park.

Our friendship with the National Park has always been in the capacity of a critical friend – one that frequently works in partnership with the Park (as we did to reduce the speed limit on Windermere in 2005) and one that will tell it when we think a particular decision or choice is not in the interests of our much-loved Lakeland landscapes.

That is why we are seeking a Judicial Review over the Lake District National Park Authority’s decision to grant planning permission for a major new adventure attraction at Elterwater Quarry. A Judicial Review asks the High Court to review the lawfulness of a decision.

Our concerns centre on tranquillity. The initial application by Zip World and Burlington Slate was rejected on the grounds that the development would bring significant additional traffic into the Langdales. We do not believe that the revised submission provides solutions in the form of a robust and enforceable Travel Plan. As a result the development threatens the tranquillity of this treasured landscape.    

90,000 people signed a petition against the quarry development at pre-application stage. Friends of the Lake District does not believe that their many concerns – over the impact that large-scale tourist developments have on the special qualities of the national park – have been sufficiently addressed. 

Friends of The Lake District recognises that it must sometimes be disappointed by decisions where the Lake District National Park Authority comes to a different judgement on planning issues. At the same time, our members and supporters expect the charity to step in when the landscape is at risk of damage. In this case, we are backed by the Parish Council and by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the UNESCO body set up to monitor World Heritage sites, which has repeatedly stated that permission should not be granted to a development that risks undermining the landscape of this valley, and that Lakeland’s quarrying history would be trivialised with the development. 

If you’d like to support our campaigns to protect and enhance Cumbrian and Lake District landscapes, please make a donation to our 90th Birthday appeal here.

Photo: Jonny Gios