£4m to repair tourist trails in Cumbria after floods

Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey has announced £4 million of funding to repair and improve Cumbria’s tourist trails following the flooding in the region.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is providing the funding, with the majority of the work - £3 million - being carried out in the Lake District National Park, which saw £5.8 million of damage to footpaths and bridges. The remaining £1 million will be split between Cumbria County Council and the Canal and River Trust.

The Lake District National Park will spend the £3 million funding on a new project, Routes to Resilience, which will start in January 2017 and last 18 months. A new project manager and a new team of four rangers and seven field rangers will help existing staff repair or replace bridges, path surfaces, gates and other features across the Park.

According to research by Cumbria Tourism, in 2015 the county’s 43 million visitors brought £2.62 billion to the local economy and created the equivalent of 35,000 full time jobs.

Coffey said: “Recovery work in Cumbria continues apace, with £150 million spent across the county this year to get communities back on their feet.

“This new £4 million fund to repair and improve trails and footpaths across the county will mean visitors and residents can continue to enjoy all parts of the Lake District. It was encouraging to read local figures showing a record summer for occupancy rates of holiday accommodation.

“We’re committed to continuing to help the people and businesses of Cumbria recover from the devastating winter floods.”

Mark Grimshaw, chief executive of the RPA, added: “The Cumbrian countryside, including the Lake District National Parks, includes some of the most beautiful scenery that England has to offer and is a major feature of the local tourist economy.

“I am delighted that the creation of the new Cumbria Countryside Access Fund will help restore rights of way popular with locals and visitors as well as protect them from any future instances of flooding.”

Additionally, the Environment Agency is urging more residents and businesses in Middlesbrough and Darlington to ensure they know their flood risk and sign up to receive flood warnings.

Rachael McFarlane, Flood Resilience Team Leader for the North East, said: “Flooding can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, with as many as one in six properties at risk of flooding in the UK.

“So it’s essential that people understand the risks that flooding poses to property and personal safety, and that they find out what they can do to keep themselves warned and informed against any future flood risk.

“There are free flood warning services available to residents in parts of Middlesbrough and Darlington which currently have very low sign up rates, so it’s vital residents take action to ensure they are registered.”