A FORMAL request to extend the southern boundary of the Lake District National Park has been put to Natural England.

The proposal, submitted by charity Friends of the Lake District, would increase the size of the park by around 155 square kilometres, or six per cent.

It incorporates the Furness and Cartmel peninsulas, the estuaries of the rivers Duddon, Leven and Kent, Millom Without and the area between Silecroft and Grange-over-Sands.

According to Friends of the Lake District, there was a “pervading sense of unfinished business” surrounding certain areas which were not included in the national park boundary.

It added that 2016’s expansion, along with the conferment of World Heritage Status onto the national park in 2017, had given parish councillors “further impetus” to identify a partner organisation [in this case Friends of the Lake District] to assess the landscape and make an application to Natural England.

The charity created a research team to assess whether the quality of the landscape would warrant national park status, while parish councils have been “establishing the level of support for an extension amongst residents, businesses and communities.”

Douglas Chalmers, chief executive of Friends of the Lake District, said: “These communities know they live and work in a landscape of spectacular quality.

“Our independent assessment provides the evidence confirming that this landscape is of the quality affording, and deserving of, national park status.”

The final decision regarding extension of the southern boundary will rest with Natural England and the Environment Secretary.

Friends of the Lake District said that scrutiny of evidence might not begin until outcomes of the review of national parks, led by Julian Glover, are revealed this autumn.

It added that even then, the process could be a “protracted one,” with substantial consultation involving councils at county, district and parish level, as well as the Lake District National Park Authority, required.

There would also be engagement with “key stakeholders” and the general public.

‘Community Conversation’ events, hosted by parish councils over summer, will give residents and businesses the chance to discuss the proposals. The first is June 26 at Thwaites Village Hall, Millom, from 5.30-7.30pm. Others can be found online by visiting the Friends of the Lake District website.