HC Deb 19 December 1989 vol 164 cc133-4W
Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will issue guidance that the practice of back-washing blue-green algae, filtered from reservoirs, into streams, be discontinued and safer methods of disposal be introduced;

(2) if he will list the reports he has received of poisoning of people, domestic and farm animals that have been linked with the contamination of reservoirs and streams with toxins produced by blue-green algae;

(3) what changes he proposes in farming practices to reduce the growth of blue-green algae in lakes and reservoirs;

(4) what proposals he has to discourage the formation and to reduce the growth of blue-green algae in lakes and reservoirs.

Mr. Howard

[holding answer 15 December 1989]: These are primarily matters for the NRA which is responsible for monitoring the quality of inland waters in England and Wales. Sampling of waters this year established that toxic forms of blue green algae were present in a number of reservoirs, lakes and similar waters. With the onset of colder weather, the problems have subsided. The NRA is conducting investigations into the cause of this year's problems with a view to establishing the need for possible preventive measures to be taken in the future.