Doubling charges for foot and cycle passengers on Windermere Ferry flies in the face of efforts to tackle climate change, a meeting has heard.

Councillor Matt Brereton criticised the price hike by Cumbria County Council and said it also contradicted the need to reduce car use around England’s longest lake.

“It’s now cheaper to attach four cycles to the roof of a car and drive across than it is to cycle the bikes across,” said the Conservative member for High Furness.

“There really needs to be a look at why those decisions were taken.”

A meeting of South Lakeland local committee was told that the Windermere Advisory Committee will be relaunched next month after being mothballed seven-and-a-half years ago.

The aim is to plug communities, tourism businesses and councillors into the operation of the council-run service.

Calls for it to be reconvened were made after the ferry was out of action for five months following a fire in May last year.

Coun Brereton complained recently that a new ferry committee announced by council chiefs in November had not yet sat.

Coun Brereton said: “I am extremely happy the committee is going to be reconstituted having asked for it as far back as August last year.”

He said the fare increases should have been delayed until the new committee met. 

Council bosses have been working on a new terms of reference and waiting for the committee’s membership to be agreed by councillors.  

Windermere Conservative councillor Ben Berry proposed that parish councils in Windermere, Hawkshead and Claife be on the committee.

But it was opposed by Coun Geoff Cook, the Liberal Democrat member for Grange, who said there was a danger the committee’s size could keep growing.

Coun Cook said Lakes Parish Council could also argue for a place if its membership was extended to three rather than two parish councils.

A vote on Coun Berry’s proposal to have three parish representatives instead of two was defeated with four in favour and six against.

The decision means Claife Parish Council will not have a place.

Committee chairman Nick Cotton, said the advisory committee would influence future fares and membership could be revisited in future.

Karen Johnson, the South Lakeland area manager, said county council directors were fully committed to the ferry and engagement.

She said: “We can work with communities and businesses on each side of the lake to help them grow and use the ferry as a way to help the local economy.”

“Cumbria County Council is working with Cumbria Tourism to put a plan together in how we can support local businesses on each side of the lake.”

David Sheard, the ferry manager, said the council wanted to work with communities and have better engagement.