Speed limit on lake rejected

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Plans for a powerboat speed limit on Lake Windermere were thwarted yesterday when John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, refused to allow a by-law proposed by the Lake District National Park.

His decision to reject the 10mph limit is being seen as one of the least "green" he has made. He went against the advice of an independent inspector who held a public inquiry into the proposed by-law.

The park authority, which spent pounds 500,000 preparing and arguing its case at the inquiry, was disappointed. ''I'm appalled and frustrated that the Secretary of State has declined to approve the firm recommendation of the inspector,'' John Toothill, the authority's chief officer said.

He said Mr Gummer had ''given in'' to powerboat users who deterred other lake users. It was a short-sighted decision which would ultimately harm tourism inside the Lake District.

On a busy weekend, several hundred powerboats travel the 10-mile-long lake at speed, many towing water-skiers. The park authority and several local groups hoped a 10mph limit would curb the noise, the wake and other disturbances caused by the boats, bringing back the tranquillity sought by walkers, anglers, nature lovers and enthusiasts for other water sports, such as canoeing and sailing.

Mr Gummer said the use of Windermere by powerboats was long established, and to curtail it drastically would be unreasonable. He urged the park authority and the users of the lake to find another way of reconciling conflicts.

Future of the parks, page 6