THE council will re-review the Windermere Electric Ferry procurement exercise from 2021 after extending the life of the current boat by five years.  

The electric ferry, which was originally hoped to be operational by spring 2024, was officially delayed last year after the council said it had not awarded a contract despite having a procurement process. It is not currently clear when the project will be delivered. 

In 2023, Westmorland and Furness Council took on plans for the new ferry from Cumbria County Council and agreed to spend £4.5m.

The electric ferry would have increased vehicle capacity and reduced emissions. Like the current ferry Mallard, she would pull herself across the lake on two wire cables.

The Mail: Mallard has been operating on Windermere for over 30 yearsMallard has been operating on Windermere for over 30 years (Image: Westmorland and Furness Council)

The council confirmed that a procurement process had taken place in 2021. 

A spokesperson for Westmorland and Furness said: "Our focus at this time is delivering the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspection that will extend the lifespan of our current ferry for another five years.

“The five-week programme that is planned to start on Monday 15 April will include a review and repairs of all hydraulic, mechanical and electrical systems along with hull repairs, rust treatment and painting.

“Following the inspection, the Council will review the detail of the procurement exercise carried out in 2021 and explore options for the ferry moving forward. Our communities will be kept updated on the process as we progress. ”

In September 2023, Electricity North West recommenced engineering work which would enable the installation of the electric ferry.  

The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron was invited to site by the electricity company earlier that year and called it a 'fantastic project for the town' while recognising that it 'will cause some short-term disruption.' 

The Mallard has been in carrying pedestrians and vehicles between Bowness and Hawkshead since 1991. One of the reasons given by the council for the new ferry is Mallard's reliability issues as she ages. 

The ferry was out of action for six days last October because of electrical faults and issues with the mooring cables and the mechanics.