Bus services are cancelled and emergency services are unable to attend accidents in the Lake District. This unfortunately is no longer headline news but an all too predictable outcome of a sunny half-term in our most popular National Park. 

Traffic queued for miles through the Lake District during the Whitsun bank holiday. Badly parked vehicles were strewn across the verges at Bowness, Elterwater, Wasdale and Derwentwater. Bus services couldn’t get through parked cars and the emergency services were unable to attend two accidents in Wasdale and on Wastwater because of dangerous parking on the single track roads. 

We have reached a tipping point where we can either embrace a radical re-think on transport within the Lake District National Park or risk destroying the sense of tranquillity and escape that this landscape has delivered for generations. 

These events are the latest in a long list that has prompted landscape charity Friends of the Lake District to call on the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria County Council to urgently undertake a transport feasibility study to look at all possible options for reducing the numbers of private vehicles on the roads, whilst ensuring that everyone is still able to access the National Park via improved public transport, active travel and other more sustainable services. 

It calls for a study to look at what is possible, what has been successful elsewhere in the world and what positive outcomes could be delivered for visitors, residents, businesses and the environment. 

Other tourist destinations have introduced seasonal road closures, park and ride, permit schemes, shuttlebuses, a road charge for visitors, public transport scheduling, pricing reductions as well as active travel choices such as electric bikes. All of these have been implemented in tourist ‘hotspots’, many motivated by having to address overwhelming vehicle numbers.

 Kate Willshaw, Policy Officer at Friends of the Lake District said: 

“We want as many people as possible to experience the sense of ‘escape’ that the Lake District has to offer but traffic chaos is off-putting for visitors and damaging for residents and businesses within the National Park. An informed discussion on transport for the future is long overdue. 

“Traffic volume also has huge implications for carbon emissions. The Lake District National Park Partnership and Cumbria County Council have both committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2037 and this cannot be achieved unless transport is addressed now. Transport accounts for nearly half of the Lake District’s total emissions.” 

Friends of the Lake District is urging those who share its concern about transport issues in the Lake District to contribute to the ongoing ‘National Park Partnership Plan Consultation’ and join them in requesting that a feasibility study is undertaken as soon as possible so that the major traffic and transport issues in the National Park are properly addressed. 

You’ll find details on the consultation on Friends of the Lake District’s website at: