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World Heritage Status 'will not change planning laws' in Lake District

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A bid to secure World Heritage status for the Lake District will not lead to tougher planning restrictions in Cumbria, the county council has insisted.

Last week Cumbria Council gave its crucial approval to the plan, which is being spearheaded by the National Parks Authority.

But the authority has now played down growing fears that the new status will trigger a rash of new planning laws in the the region, which already has National Park status.

A council spokesman confirmed: 'It is our understanding that National Park status confers the highest planning protection. World Heritage Status will not add to that.'

The council's backing has been vital to the heritage bid, which is expected to be submitted on 15 December.

If the bid is successful The Lake District will join the Taj Mahal, Hadrian's Wall, the Great Barrier Reef and the plains of the Serengeti on the list of 800 World Heritage Sites.

Tim Heslop, county council cabinet spokesman for economic regeneration, said: 'The decision on this was always going to be a key factor in deciding the fate of the bid.

'There was no clear cut right answer and it has always been a case of weighing up the pros and cons of becoming a World Heritage Site.

'We have been well aware that without the backing of the largest elected body in the county the bid could not go ahead and I know all members will have thought long and hard about this issues before choosing how to vote.'

by Clive Walker

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