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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Blind skier's anger at lake ban
Protestors say the ban would hit the local economy
Disabled water-skiers are threatening to flout a speed limit to be imposed on Windermere in Cumbria.

The four busiest areas of the lake have a 6mph limit, and from March 2005 there will be a 10mph limit elsewhere.

Former disabled world water-ski champion Gerald Price, 70, wants the UK team to be allowed to train on the lake after the limit comes into force.

But the Lake District National Park Authority says the limit will apply to all lake users.

The authority was being asked to grant a special concession to disabled water-skiers on Tuesday.

And Mr Price, who has been blind since age of 23, says he is willing to "break the law" to continue training for his sport.

The authority says the speed limit will make the lake a more tranquil place to visit.

Training purposes

But campaigners, including some businesses, say it will devastate the local economy, which has struggled to recover from the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001.

Mr Price, from Stockport and a founder member of the British Disabled Water-Ski Association, says Windermere is regularly used by the British disabled team for training purposes.

He said: "If we are turned down by the authority I will break the law to continue my sport, where I feel we have a right to do it on lake Windermere.

"Water-skiing will not stop, it will spread."

Mr Price became the first ever totally blind water-ski jump world champion in 1987.

Former Sports and Culture Minister Kate Hoey and former Environment Minister John Gummer, are among those who have backed campaigners against the proposed speed limit.

In 2003 Ms Hoey joined hundreds of campaigners to demonstrate against the planned 10mph limit.

If it goes ahead, the speed restriction will effectively mean the end of sports boats and activities such as water-skiing.

Ex-minister joins lake protest
31 May 03  |  Cumbria
Laser gun speed checks on lake
17 Mar 03  |  England
Action against lake speed limit
30 Aug 02  |  England

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