Visitors to the Lake District are to be targeted in a major new scheme to encourage greener forms of travel in the national park.
The GoLakes Travel
programme is investing £6.9 million over the next three years in environment-friendly forms of road transport
, including a new low emission car hire scheme. It aims is to protect the Lake District’s environment while enhancing the visitor experience by saving up to 11,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2015. The scheme is also expected to create 100 jobs.
Eight million people visit the Lake District every year, but research shows they drive on average 50 miles a day during their stay. The GoLakes Travel programme aims to cut car use by visitors within the Lake District National Park by seven per cent by 2015.
GoLakes Travel will focus on nine interlinking green transport projects in the central and south Lakes. As well as a new low emission car hire scheme, the infrastructure scheme will improve and expand on cycleways, bus stops and an electric bike network. It will also deliver more flexible ticketing and better transport information.
The central and south Lakes, which includes the towns and villages of Grasmere, Ambleside, Windermere, Kendal, Hawkshead and Coniston, have been chosen because they receive the majority of visitors to the national park.
GoLakes Travel is being funded by the Department for Transport and GoLakes Travel partners Cumbria County Council (CCC), Cumbria Tourism and the Lake District National Park (LDNP).
"The significant improvements to the transport infrastructure will give people that confidence to leave their cars at their accommodation, or, even better, at home," said Richard Greenwood, head of Policy and Research at Cumbria Tourism.
LDNP and CCC have made sustainable transport targeting visitors in the Lake District a priority in recent years. In October 2010, LDNP launched the 'Fresh Air is Free
’ to promote car-free travel to visitors in the national park.
Data shows that visitors travelling around the Lake District account for 205,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, compared to 165,000 tonnes caused by residents’ car use.
"This is a really unique programme," said Steve Ratcliffe, director of Planning and Partnerships at the Lake District National Park. "It is unique because of the partnership behind it and it is unique because it is orientated towards the visitor. Other sustainable travel projects elsewhere in the UK have focused on residents."
GoLakes Travel will launch in the summer. Some projects will be developed in 2012, but most schemes will come on stream during 2013 and 2014.
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