Residents reminded to take extra care around rivers and lakes

Published: Friday, 05 August 2016

Northampton Borough Council is reminding residents about the potential dangers of visiting and entering lakes, rivers and the various other bodies of water throughout the borough.

Recent good weather has drawn more crowds to rivers and lakes, with people looking for the perfect spot to walk the dog, do some fishing or to just simply relax beside - or in some cases in - the water. These activities actually pose several hazards to both humans and animals including drowning and poisoning.

According to figures published by the National Water Safety Forum, a staggering 44% of people that drowned in 2014 never intended to enter the water, with many of the casualties being runners and walkers. This goes to show that it is not only people that enter the water intentionally that are at risk of getting into difficulties.

Aside from the risk of drowning, there is also a risk of serious illness due to the toxins released by blue-green algae, blooms of which have recently appeared on Delapre Lake.

The Environment Agency advises that blooms of blue-green algae have a 50/50 chance of being toxic and that the toxins are undetectable. They therefore advise against entering water where blue-green algae is present as the toxins can produce some nasty symptoms and can also prove deadly for dogs.

Councillor Alan Bottwood, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: 

“Whilst taking a stroll by the river or a dip in a lake may seem harmless, evidence published by expert organisations demonstrates it actually poses some very serious hazards.

“The council is working hard to erect new signage warning of these dangers, and I urge residents to take these hazards into account and to take extra care when around a body of water.”

Instances of blue-green algae blooms can be reported to the Environment Agency via their 24 hour hotline - 0800 80 70 60

If you see someone in difficulty whilst in water, you should phone 999 immediately and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service and Ambulance Service.

Delapre Lake remains open to the public.