Posted: 07/10/2011 09:41:20 by Nigel Nixon

POTENTIALLY deadly blue-green algae has been found on Windermere.

The Environment Agency says it has found evidence of an algal bloom at Low Wray Bay, prompting South Lakeland District Council to issue a warning.

The authority said anyone using lakes, rivers and reservoirs should treat all blue-green algae blooms 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.

SLDC’s environmental health team leader, Tracy Howard, 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 affects and are asking people to be extra careful and vigilant when using the lakes and rivers for recreational purposes during the summer months.

"The public should observe any notices near affected areas and avoid contact or drinking the water.”

Many waters are vulnerable to problems with the algae, typically between June and November.

Experts say all blue-green algal blooms should be assumed to be toxic.

The blooms vary in colour from discoloured green, blue-green, greenish brown, or reddish brown.

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

Tagged with: windermere, algae


Posted: 26/06/2011 13:02:46 by Nigel Nixon

Next generation of reactors will be built at Sellafield and Heysham, the Government announced today as it pushes ahead with plans for new nuclear power plants.

In the first major announcement on the future of nuclear in the UK since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the Government outlined the locations deemed suitable for new power stations by 2025, all of which are adjacent to existing nuclear sites.

The eight sites are: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; and Wylfa, Anglesey.

The plans for new nuclear power plants are part of a series of national policy statements on energy which were published today, following a public consultation.

They will be debated and voted on in Parliament, but ministers are hopeful that, with a pro-nuclear majority in the Commons, they will win the argument.

Nuclear power is one of the issues that divided Conservatives and Liberal Democrats when they entered Government together, with the coalition deal allowing a Lib Dem spokesman to speak out against any new nuclear plants, while Lib Dem MPs could abstain on the issue.

Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has since given his backing to new reactors, insisting they would not be subsidised by the taxpayer - although MPs have warned that reform of the electricity market could favour nuclear power and amount to a hidden subsidy.

The Government is planning the new suite of reactors to maintain electricity supplies and cut greenhouse gas emissions as an old generation of power stations is shut down.

The future of nuclear as a power source for countries around the world was called into question earlier this year after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami rocked the reactors at Fukushima, leaving radioactivity leaking from the plant.

Mr Huhne signalled last month that plans for new reactors in the UK were on track after an initial report on Fukushima from nuclear chief inspector Mike Weightman ruled out the need to curtail the operation of nuclear power stations in the UK in light of the situation in Japan.

The energy policy statements aim to provide a framework for making planning decisions so projects do not face "unnecessary hold-ups".

They set out the need for billions of pounds of investment in new energy sources, including 33 gigawatts of renewable power - the equivalent of thousands of offshore wind turbines - to meet the UK's future needs.

Energy minister Charles Hendry said: "Around a quarter of the UK's generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy.

"This will require over £100 billion worth of investment in electricity generation alone.

"This means twice as much investment in energy infrastructure in this decade as was achieved in the last decade.

"Industry needs as much certainty as possible to make such big investments.

"These plans set out our energy need to help guide the planning process, so that if acceptable proposals come forward in appropriate places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups."

He said the coalition Government was determined to make the UK attractive to investors to ensure that the country had secure, affordable, low-carbon energy.

Tagged with: Lake, Nuclear, Sellafield, district


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