Don't rush back to the Lake District just yet, MP urges

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called for clarity over the government's new guidance about exercise and travel.

Monday, 11th May 2020, 12:30 pm
New government guidance has caused confusion over what people can and can't do.

He has written an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for there to be a maximum limit on the number of miles people can drive for exercise to help to stop a surge in people travelling to the Lake District from outside the county.

It comes after fears that the new guidance from the Government allowing people to “drive to other destinations” will see a huge influx of people driving to the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.

In his letter, Tim said: “Here in South Lakeland, we have the third highest COVID-19 infection rates per head of population in the country. And with an average age ten years above the national average, we have a far more vulnerable population.

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“Coronavirus is still tragically claiming hundreds of people’s lives every day and so restricting mass movement at this time would seem the responsible and safe thing to do.

“I would therefore implore you to a put specific limit on the number of miles that people can drive for exercise to help prevent the inevitable high influx of people travelling to the Lakes, the Dales and South Cumbria.”

He said earlier: “The Prime Minister said we could now drive for exercise, but not how far.

"He said that hospitality businesses would remain closed until July, but didn’t mention anything about travelling to second homes.

"Local communities here in the Lake District will be rightly concerned about this lack of clarity, and the impact it could have on local residents – especially with Snowdonia so clearly off limits to people in Manchester and Liverpool.”

The government has increased lockdown fines from £60 to £100 amid confusion over the new restrictions.Lancashire Police said: "We are working through the detail but as more details become clear, working closely with the College of Policing and the Home Office, we will review our current guidance, which supports officers and staff in policing the public health regulations.

"The core British principle of policing by consent will continue to be at the heart of our approach."

Cumbria Police Assistant chief constable Andy Slattery told BBC Breakfast that the move taken by the government wasn't one he expected and could be "potentially a very significant change" for Cumbria.

In a plea to residents across the north of England and beyond, Mr Farron added: “We will welcome you all back to the Lakes with open arms when this is over, but sadly people are still dying so please don’t rush back to the Lake District yet.”