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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Clean-up bid to make lake safe

By Giles BrownA PROJECT to clean up Windermere will be launched this week, as research warns it could become unsafe for swimmers due to algae.

A study in the latest edition of the Freshwater Biology journal warned toxic algae could force a watersports ban on the lake unless action was taken.

The study said farming, sewage and fertilisers were behind blooms of algae, which have caused problems at the lake in the past.

In 2010 an outbreak of algae at the lake led to the cancellation of the Great North Swim.

On Thursday, Lord Clark of Windermere will launch a £1.69m three-year scheme, called Windermere Reflections, at the Parish Centre, in Ambleside.

The scheme involves 19 projects designed to improve the state of the Windermere catchment area.

Activities will include tree planting, river restoration and work to teach people in the area how to reduce their environmental impact.

Free courses will be run in partnership with the University of Cumbria. There will also be opportunities for people to volunteer to take part in the projects.

Michelle Donoghue, chairwoman of the Windermere Catchment Restoration Programme, which Windermere Reflections is part of, said the launch was the beginning of “exciting times”.

She said: “Reflections provides the opportunity for the community to get involved in the work that’s been going on behind the scenes with all sorts of people from scientists to land owners, as we work towards our mission of restoring the lake’s water quality.”

Programme manager Liz Davey encouraged local people and visitors to get involved in the project.

She said: “When it does come to an end we very much hope the skills and information people will have been offered help them as they continue their guardianship of this precious area.”

Publicity events will take place in the Windermere catchment area in March and April.

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