Written on 20/02/18 by Paul Oldham

Thirlmere Zip Wire Application Withdrawn

As we reported back in November a planning application had been submitted to the Lake District National Park Authority to string eight zip wires over Thirlmere and it was, as we predicted, controversial.

Thirlmere from Fisher Crag
The view of Thirlmere from Fisher Crag, the return zipwires would have begun just below here

A lot of people and organizations objected but the one who we predicted would be hard to ignore and whose objections got wide coverage across the national press when it came out was the MOD, who appeared on the scene at the last minute with a letter which said in part:

The proposal falls within Low Flying Area 17 in particular a valley where a high volume of low level military aircraft including fast jets can be expected due to low flying military training conducted in this locality.

The proposed cable in this location poses a risk to low flying operations due to military aircraft not being able to readily identify wires or safely navigate away from them.

Competent and confident flying at low level is an essential skill for our aircrew; valley flying is one of the most demanding elements.The Lake District is used by both experienced crews and students undertaking Basic Fast Jet Training, Advanced Flying Training and those from the Defence Helicopter School; activity stands to be severely affected, with impacts recognised in safety, cost, efficiency and output.

Therefore, this application could cause a significant hazard and it would significantly impact upon vital military training conducted in this area.

The MOD therefore objects to this application.

"Low flying" in military terms is as low as 250 feet for planes and 100 feet for helicopters so in both cases well under the zipwire height (more like 200m).

In response the developers, Treetop Trek, said:

We have been in consultation with the MoD since June 2017 and ... are therefore very surprised by this apparent change in stance and are currently seeking their further clarification.

... but today their managing director Mike Turner announced that they were withdrawing their application citing this objection in particular as the principle stumbling block.

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