A leading Lake District charity is calling on the county’s leaders to take urgent steps to help reduce traffic on the roads.
Friends of the Lake District said the county has reached a tipping point.
It said: “We can either embrace a radical rethink on transport within the Lake District National Park or risk destroying the sense of tranquillity and escape that this landscape has delivered for generations.”
The charity wants the national park authority and Cumbria County Council to urgently carry out a feasibility study to look at all possible options for reducing the numbers of private vehicles on the roads, while ensuring that everyone is still able to access the national park via improved public transport, active travel and other more sustainable services.
It said: “Traffic queued for miles through the Lake District during the Whitsun bank holiday.
“Badly parked vehicles were strewn across the verges at Bowness, Elterwater, Wasdale and Derwentwater.
“Bus services couldn’t get through parked cars and the emergency services were unable to attend two accidents in Wasdale and on Wastwater because of dangerous parking on the single track roads.”
The charity said other tourist hotspots across the world have introduced seasonal road closures, park and ride, permit schemes, shuttlebuses, a road charge for visitors, public transport scheduling, pricing reductions as well as electric bikes.
Kate Willshaw, policy officer at Friends of the Lake District said: “We want as many people as possible to experience the sense of ‘escape’ that the Lake District has to offer but traffic chaos is off-putting for visitors and damaging for residents and businesses within the national park.
“An informed discussion on transport for the future is long overdue.
“Traffic volume also has huge implications for carbon emissions.
“The Lake District National Park Partnership and Cumbria County Council have both committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2037 and this cannot be achieved unless transport is addressed now.
“Transport accounts for nearly half of the Lake District’s total emissions.”
Friends of the Lake District is urging people to contribute to the ongoing National Park Partnership Plan Consultation and join it in requesting a feasibility study so major traffic and transport issues in the national park are addressed.