Tourism in and around Kirksanton
Kirksanton is facing catastrophe! Over the past 10 years the village has developed as a tourist destination. Holiday accommodation businesses have been set up to take advantage of the stunning scenery, magnificent views of the local fells and a unique, peaceful quality, away from the bustle of the central Lake District.
Quoting from The Tourism Strategy For Cumbria – ‘Our environment, culture and our way of life are fundamental to the success of tourism and the well-being of the people who live here’. It is these very fundamentals that are now under threat.’
Many years of hard work promoting this part of Cumbria as a tourist destination is now beginning to bear fruit. As each year passes increasing numbers of holiday-makers visit the area. But now, all that effort could be undermined by the giant utility company RWE Npower, which has nominated land at Kirksanton as a potential site for a new nuclear power station.
Local businesses together with those in nearby villages view this as a devastating blow. If the plans were to be accepted and the build went ahead, no-one would want to stay in the area on holiday or even walk along what is now a beautiful coastline. Tourism in the area would die.
Again quoting from The Tourism Strategy For Cumbria – ‘Cumbria is far more dependent on tourism than most other parts of the UK so we can ill afford to be complacent’. It has been calculated that in 2007 the Visitor Economy contributed £1.1 billion to the Cumbrian economy as a whole, supporting over 36,000 jobs; that figure is set to rise to £1.5 billion by 2018. So, why threaten this growth in income into the county?
In the document outlining their economic strategy, Cumbria Vision has stated that the area’s close proximity to the Lake District means that there is huge potential for the expansion of tourism. The master plan in Britain’s Energy Coast declares ’We will work to improve Cumbria’s tourism offering and increase the value of the sector’. There is also recognition that in order to take the visitor pressure off the Central Lakes, there is a need to develop West Cumbria further as a tourism destination.
An online survey of 1,500 non-visitors, taken in April 2007 for the Cumbria Tourism Destination Management Plan revealed that when asked why they did not visit the West Coast of Cumbria they replied with similar answers given for other areas of the county: ‘other places I’d like to visit’, the distance to travel, and the weather. But in addition there was the presence of the nuclear power station.
So the question is:
How does the building of a nuclear power station on a greenfield site, which is not on or adjacent to another nuclear facility, fit into plans to develop the area as a tourism destination?
Evidence from a letting company states that the presence of a nearby nuclear power station or merely passing a nuclear power station on the way to a nearby destination is highly detrimental to the success of a holiday let. So it would appear that if a nuclear power station were to be built at Kirksanton, the newly established businesses based on the tourist industry would be adversely affected and the plans outlined by local development bodies for the industry would be stifled.
The local landscape would be changed for ever; the peace and tranquillity would be gone; the landscape would be changed irrevocably and the damage done could never be repaired.