A WARNING has been issued following sightings of a bacteria which can kill pets and livestock in lakes including Windermere and Coniston Water.

Blue-green algae, referring to a group of bacteria which looks like algae when it clumps together, can cause problems such as vomiting and diarrhoea if swallowed by humans and rashes if it comes into contact with the skin.

An Environment Agency (EA) spokeswoman said EA staff were ‘only going out for essential reasons’ during the coronavirus pandemic so blue-green algae sightings were automatically being treated as ‘blooms’ of the bacteria.

Steve Gaskell, park management leader at the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), said: “The EA has received reports of possible blue-green algae in both Windermere and Coniston recently and relevant lakeshore landowners have been advised by the agency to put up signs to warn of this possibility.

“We advise if you come into contact with the water, wash in clean water. And if you feel ill, contact your doctor or nearest hospital.

“It can be fatal for pets and we would advise pets are kept away from the water.”

The LDNPA says it is not possible to tell if blooms of blue-green algae are toxic just by looking at them, so it is ‘best to assume they are’.

The full list of locations provided by the EA at which blue-green algae is suspected in Cumbria is:

-Windermere: Millerground, Dove Nest, Waterhead, Grubbins Point, YMCA and Low Wray.

-Coniston Water: Oak Isle and High Nibthwaite.


-Ullswater: Watermillock, Aira Force, Glencoyne Bay and Howtown.

Suspected blooms should be reported to the EA’s 24-hour hotline on 0800 807 060.