A SCHEME to encourage tourists to forsake their cars and use more environmentally friendly ways of visiting attractions will be discussed by Teesdale councillors today.

Members of Teesdale District Council will meet to talk about the Tourism Without Traffic initiative, which the authority has signed up to in a bid to encourage visitors to the area to leave their cars at home.

The scheme, which 16 local authorities around the country have signed up to, encourages tourists to walk and cycle instead of driving to attractions, and aims to highlight the benefits of using public transport.

The Tourism Without Traffic programme is operated by Transport 2000 and is supported by the Countryside Agency, the English Tourism Council, the Department for Transport, the National Trust and the Youth Hostels Association.

Teesdale District Council aims to focus its efforts on the County Durham stretch of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which links Teesdale, Wear Valley and Derwentside.

The authority is hoping to continue a pilot scheme introduced last summer, called the Black Grouse Bus Service, which picked up visitors and their bikes from around the region for day trips to Teesdale.

The council is also planning to introduce reduced entry to local attractions for bus users.

In addition, the authority wants to promote walking and cycling opportunities in the dale and improve transport links to local hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and pubs.

Members of the economic affairs policy committee will meet to discuss the initiative at Teesdale House, in Barnard Castle, at 2pm.