Wanstead Park managers warn visitors of blue-green algae in Perch Pond

The City of London Corporation, which manages Wanstead Park, is warning visitors against swimming, fishing or taking dogs into the water at Perch Pond after the Environment Agency confirmed the presence of blue-green algae at the site.

Blue-green algae naturally occur in inland waters, estuaries and the sea – and they are important contributors to the biology of fresh and marine waters.

But where high levels of phosphorus combine with other factors like increased sunlight and temperature, the numbers of blue-green algae can rapidly increase. These are known as ‘blooms’.

Blooms can have a negative effect on the appearance, quality and use of the water. They can produce toxins which can harm and be potentially fatal for wild animals, farm livestock and pets.

Precautionary signs have been placed at the site warning people against fishing, swimming or letting animals in the water while managers monitor the situation in conjunction with the Environment Agency.

Blue-green algae has so far not been identified at any of the other lakes in the park but the City of London Corporation is monitoring the sites and advising visitors not to enter them.

The blooms are expected to naturally clear in the coming months.

Geoff Sinclair, the City of London Corporation’s Head of Operations at Epping Forest, said:

“As this is a natural process and we need to allow time for the algae at the lake to clear on its own. In the meantime it’s important that visitors and their pets do not enter the water.

“At the moment it is safest not to let your dog swim or drink in the lake. If they do come in contact with the water, wash them thoroughly with fresh water and dry them to prevent them grooming themselves and ingesting any potential algae. If you are concerned, take your dog to a vet.

“If you come in to contact with blue-green algae, seek medical advice if you have any health effects.”

The City of London Corporation manages 18 major green spaces in London and south east England, including Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath, and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile.

They include important wildlife habitats, sites of scientific interest and national nature reserves and they are protected from being built on by special legislation.

These green spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are funded by over £28million a year from the City Corporation, and are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve.


Notes to editors 

Media contacts:

Carl Locsin, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

T 020 7332 3654 / M 0738 862 229

E carl.locsin@cityoflondon.gov.uk

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills projects. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust makes grants of around £20 million annually to charitable projects across London and we also support education with three independent schools, three City Academies, a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

We also help look after key London’s heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London.

We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies all reflecting a long-term approach.

See www.cityoflondon.gov.uk for more details.