CAMPAIGNERS have launched an 11th hour bid to block the controversial plan for a 1,035ft zip-wire at Honister.

The aerial attraction was given the go-ahead by the Lake District National Park Authority last week, but Cumbria Wildlife Trust has taken the unusual step of writing directly to Secretary of State James Brokenshire calling for him to block the proposal.

“In the trust’s view, the zip wire will cause significant damage to this internationally important wildlife site and, in particular, to the rare, irreplaceable and endangered alpine flowers that grow here,” said trust chief executive Stephen Trotter.

“It’s also a morally wrong decision against the backdrop of the wildlife crisis in the UK. National Parks should be leading the recovery of wildlife, not its destruction.”

The location of the planned zipwire is Honister Slate Mine, which lies on the remote mountain pass between Borrowdale and Buttermere.

A long zipwire running from high on Honister Crag is proposed, reaching an ‘intermediate’ landing point, with a shorter run then running down to the mine car park.

The attraction is largely aimed at visitors but it is also projected that the wires will transport quarried slate from remote areas down to the mine workshops during off peak periods.

A similar application was refused in 2011 and 2012, and the current application was recommended for refusal by planning officers, but the park authority’s development control committee voted in favour last week to the delight of slate mine co-owner Jan Wilkinson.

“We have a role as guardians of this special landscape and I believe that by creating life-enhancing experiences for everyone to enjoy, we are helping to develop a love and understanding of the special qualities of the national park we are privileged to call home,” she said.

However, Cumbria Wildlife Trust has refused to concede defeat and has written to Mr Brokenshire asking for direct intervention.

And leading conservation group The Open Spaces Society has also expressed its dismay.

“We believe that authority members have demonstrated a lamentable lack of care for this splendid and unique area,” said OSS general secretary Kate Ashbrook.

“While we are not against zip wires or adventurous recreation, we consider this one is most definitely in the wrong place. We do not consider this battle over yet.”

An update from the national park authority said an assessment of the nature conservation implications would now be completed before a final decision was taken by the authority’s head of development management. The process is expected to take several weeks.