EVIDENCE of toxic blue-green algal blooms has been found in Windermere.

The Environment Agency has informed South Lakeland District Council that it has been found at Harrow Slack.

The EA says that blue green algae blooms should be treated with caution and contact should be avoided as skin rashes and illness may occur if the water is swallowed.

Farmers and pet owners should also prevent livestock and animals coming into contact or drinking the affected water, as it can sometimes prove fatal for animals.

Coun Clare Feeney-Johnson, environment portfolio holder, said: “Blue green algae can potentially make people feel quite ill if swallowed or even by just swimming in it.

“We just want people to be aware of the effects and are asking people to be extra careful and vigilant when using the lakes and rivers for recreational purposes. The public should observe any notices near affected areas and avoid contact or drinking the water.”

Many waters are vulnerable to problems with blue green algae, typically between June and November. All blue green algae blooms should be assumed to be toxic and the blooms vary in colour from discoloured green, blue-green, greenish brown, or reddish brown.

Further information about the algae can be found on the Environment Agency’s website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk