Lake District: Pop-up campsites 'will destroy' areas

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionOpponents say the campsites will ruin popular areas such as White Moss near Rydal Water

Pop-up campsites will "destroy" parts of the Lake District popular with visitors, opponents have claimed.

Small-scale sites have emerged in the wake of the government's relaxation of planning rules, aimed at helping tourism after lockdown ends.

But residents argue they are unsuitable in locations like White Moss near Grasmere and Chapel Stile in Langdale.Pop-up campsites 'will destroy' Lake District

Andy Astle, from Grasmere, said having pitches close to busy areas was contrary to guidelines.

"There is room for the pop-up site, but not in this location," he said.

"Dropping a 30-pitch campsite into White Moss at the height of the season is going to destroy this unspoilt beauty and it's going to ruin one of the area's major tourist attractions."

Last year's temporary change in legislation allows land to be used for any purpose for 56 days without an application for planning permission.

Some people living in the National Park said it meant campsites were being set up without the usual controls or opportunities to object.

image copyrightFriends of the Lake District
image captionCamping equipment and empty cartons were dumped by some campers last summer

Andrea Meanwell, from the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), said large numbers of people had been "fly camping" last year because there was not enough capacity at established campsites.

"One night, seven cars were found driving very slowly round lanes, packed full of people," Ms Meanwell said.

They had come from Birmingham without a booking and were "driving around looking for a flat field".

The LDNPA had no control over the current law but was giving advice on setting up campsites responsibly in less busy areas, she added.

Councillor Malcolm Lamb said Langdale and Chapel Stile were already "hotspots" for visitors with existing campsites nearby.

"There's a lot of publicity going on over this idea of pop-up campsites through the National Park itself and the concern is that actually that will attract more visitors," he said.

Lowther Estates, which owns one site at White Moss, said it would have wardens on site to collect litter.

Assistant estates manager Jim Bliss said the pop-ups would allow for "more controlled camping" than was seen last year.

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