Chew Valley Lake closed due to harmful algae levels

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Bristol Water has taken the 'difficult decision' to suspend all water activities. Credit: Mike Read

All water activities at a popular lake in Somerset have been suspended after harmful algae was found in the water.

Bristol Water has issued a warning over the high levels of blue-green algae reported in Chew Valley lake.

The water firm, which also manages Litton Lake, Cheddar Reservoir and Barrow Tanks, has taken the "difficult decision" to suspend all water activities.

This includes bank angling, boat angling and sailing.

The blue-green algae, which blooms in hot weather, can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

The algae is naturally-occurring in places like reservoirs but it can be harmful to animals and humans.

A spokesperson for Bristol Water said: "Due to high blue-green algae levels in Chew Valley lake, we have had to take the difficult decision to suspend all activities that come into contact with the water on Chew.

"This includes bank angling, boat angling and sailing. This notice is in place until further notice."

The statement continued: "There are associated risks to public health from contact with the water which may include and not be limited to skin irritation, respiratory issues, sickness etc. This may also be the case for pets (dogs) coming into contact with the water."There isn’t a safe or effective way for us to remove the algae from the reservoir, however water from the reservoir goes through an extensive treatment process before it reaches your tap to make sure it’s clean and ready to drink."

Visitors are advised to follow the warning signs in place at the reservoir. Bristol Water staff will continue lake samples and look to lift this restriction "as soon as practicably possible."

The picnic areas, Salt and Malt, Woodford Lodge restaurant and Woodford Tackle shop are open as usual.

Chew Valley Lake was formed in the 1950s after the hamlet of Moreton was submerged to facilitate the construction of the reservoir.

The beauty spot is popular with birdwatchers, sailors and fishermen.