Windermere algae blooms that can harm humans and pets sparks Lake District visitor warning

People are being urged not to touch or enter the water if there appears to be algae blooms on or near it. Credit: PA

Further warnings of the water quality in England's largest lake are being issued, as harmful algae has been spotted at multiple locations on Lake Windermere.

It follows early sightings of blooms of blue-green algae in the National Park this year.

The algae has most recently been confirmed at three locations around the lake, leading the Lake District National Park Authority to warn people of its danger to humans and pets.

The Environment Agency said the algae can produce toxins which can kill animals and causes illness and rashes on humans.

Sightings have been at YMCA Lakeside, Millerground and Cunsey Beck.

According to the Environment Agency, it is not possible to tell if algae is dangerous just by how it looks.

It recommends not to enter the water if there is suspected algae in the area.

The agency says whilst no one has died or suffered from long-term effects, illnesses can be severe.

The Environment Agency warn the blue-green algae can have the following effects:

  • Rashes

  • Eye irritation

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Fever

  • Muscle and joint pain

Blue-green algae is common at this time of year as it forms naturally during warm, dry weather.

Algae blooms can have a negative effect on the appearance and quality of the water, meaning people should avoid contact with it and water around it.

People are also being urged by the Environment Agency to and keep their pets away.

A spokesperson said: "It may become green, blue-green or greenish-brown, and several species can produce musty, earthy or grassy odours.

"Blooms can also cause foaming on the shoreline - sometimes confused with sewage pollution."

They added it can look like "paint, jelly or form small clumps, and may be blue-green, grey-green, greenish-brown or, occasionally, reddish-brown in colour".

In total there have been five sightings of the blooms within the National Park.

These include the three this month, one near Lakeside Wood, at Bassenthwaite, and one at Killington Lake in March.

People are being asked to report any further sightings of the algae to the Environment Agency or via the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology's Bloomin' Algae mobile app.

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