UNESCO may not be the most amenable of organisations, but for once their comfy ‘jobs for the boys’ machinery has delivered a significant and justified blow to one of its newest adherents.
Together with Keswick Town Council in Cumbria, UNESCO has registered its objections to the Lake District National Park’s active support of serious landscape abuse caused by the destructive wheels of 4x4s and trail (motor) bikes. These it encourages to race illegally across open fells, ancient tracks and SSSI protected areas of the once stunning Cumbrian countryside. Many locally based organisations have campaigned for years against such wanton rural vandalism. But the LDNPA’s CEO, Richard Leafe, has continued to encourage the kind of vehicular devastation that has so scarred the hillsides and escarpments in even the remotest spots. His ‘Theme Park Lake District’ ideas are designed to grow tourist income, but sacrificing some of our most iconic (and supposedly protected) landscapes refutes the National Park’s first constitutional principle, to protect the natural beauty of the Lake District in every respect. It’s time the CEO was made accountable. For too long he has been off the leash to the detriment of the region itself.