We welcome withdrawal of Thirlmere fence application

We are pleased that United Utilities (UU) has withdrawn its application for 10 kilometres of fencing on common land above Thirlmere. A public inquiry was due to open on 17 November.

Because the fence was across common land, UU had applied to the Planning Inspectorate for consent for works on common land, under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006.

We along with the Open Spaces Society, Friends of the Lake District, the Ramblers, the Foundation for Common Land  and the Wainwright Society were among the many objectors to the scheme which threatened to undermine traditional commoning and degrade the open landscape of the national park.

UU claimed the fence was needed to reduce the grazing and prevent contamination of the water caused by erosion from overgrazing. We have asked UU for the evidence that demonstrates that overgrazing is an issue as sheep numbers have been reduced on these commons over the last twenty years or so.

UU now says that they will carry out further consultation about its plans in the hope of identifying viable alternatives to a fence. We will be playing our part.