Beauty spot shuts in red algae scare

Fairhaven Lake in Lytham has been closed due to red algae
Fairhaven Lake in Lytham has been closed due to red algae
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One of the Fylde coast’s top tourist attractions has shut following an outbreak of algae which has caused the death of more than 1,500 fish.

Fairhaven Lake, a popular destination for visitors from across the North West, was closed to users by Fylde Council on Friday after high levels of red algae in the water.

Coun Cheryl Little

Coun Cheryl Little

The algae, which drains oxygen levels, caused more than 1,500 plaice, eel and flounder to die at the seaside venue near Inner Promenade.

Facilities around the lake remain open, but sailing, motor boat use and rowing has been banned until the situation improves.

Fairhaven Coun Cheryl Little, pictured, said the Environment Agency was working to improve the situation, which has seen hundreds of dead fish line the surface of the lake, which attracts more than 50,000 visitors a year.

She added: “Taking into consideration it’s a blow for tourism, it’s a blow for the wildlife.

“I was there last week when it was just starting and it’s distressing. I have had quite a few calls from residents who have seen what is happening. We are doing the best we can.”

Fylde Council officers closed the lake to the public on Friday in a bid to control the algae outbreak.

Pumps and fountains were turned on to airate the water after oxygen levels had dropped to just five per cent.

A Fylde Council spokesman confirmed the algae was non-poisonous and non-toxic, but said the situation was improving and hoped it would be days rather than weeks before the lake re-opened.

Officers from the Environment Agency are controlling the operation at the lake, but confirmed a large number of fish had died after the algae outbreak.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Red algae caused the death of more than 1,500 plaice, flounder and eel in Fairhaven Lake last 
weekend.

“An algal bloom occurs when the weather conditions are warm and dry and fish are affected because it starves water of the vital oxygen supplies they need.

“Our officers used aeration equipment in the lake over the weekend and we are supporting the council with their lake management plan for the future.”

Anyone suspecting an environmental incident is taking place can report it to the agency on 0800 807060.