HC Deb 09 November 1989 vol 159 cc714-5W
Mr. Latham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what information is available to the National Rivers Authority about(a) the specific extent of the toxicity of the blue-green algae at Rutland Water in early September; and whether that toxic level was a normal seasonal phenomenon and (b) whether any animals died as a result of toxic blue-green algae poisoning at any other reservoirs under the scrutiny of the National Rivers Authority during the period in question;

(2) whether he will place in the Library and make available to Rutland district council and Leicestershire country council (a) the scientific findings relating to the death of animals at Rutland Water carried out by the National Rivers Authority, (b) the similar investigations and reports by Dundee university on behalf of Anglian Water and (c) information made available to the National Rivers Authority as a result of post-mortems by veterinary surgeons following the death of dogs and sheep.

Mr. Howard

[holding answer 6 November 1989]: I understand that the NRA has results of mammalian toxicity tests performed in September which showed the blue-green algae in Rutland Water to be highly toxic. It is not possible to determie whether or not the level of toxicity at Rutland Water was a normal seasonal phenomenon, although blooms of blue-green algae in later summer are a common occurrence in many waters of the United Kingdom. Apart from Rutland Water, the NRA has no knowledge of animal deaths elsewhere which can be attributed to toxic blue-green algae.

Data from monitoring the algae at Rutland Water have been made available to the appropriate local authority environmental health officers and this, together with the results of the toxicological work commissioned from Dundee university, is also included on the public register maintained by the NRA. Studies and post mortems on animal deaths at Rutland Water connected with the algae have been carried out by the veterinary service of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and I understand that final results are not yet available.

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