Blue-green algae - Loch Lochy

blue-green algae blooms at Laggan Locks on Loch Lochy
Blue-green algae blooms at Laggan Locks on Loch Lochy.

The public are being advised as a precautionary measure that algal scum at Laggan Locks on Loch Lochy in Lochaber should be avoided by people and pets.

The presence of blue-green algae blooms at Laggan Locks on Loch Lochy has been confirmed by Highland Council Environmental Health Officers.

During the current period of prolonged warm weather, the chance of blue green algae (cyanobacteria) affecting water courses, particularly ponds, lochs, and canals (as well as rivers), increases significantly. Sometimes the blue green algae can form blooms, which can release toxins into the water. 

Contact with blue-green algae can have adverse health effects for humans and animals.

The situation is being investigated by Highland Council Environmental Health in partnership with NHS Highland Public Health and wider colleagues.

Notices have been posted next to the loch warning that contact with the algal scum should be avoided. 

Note to editors:

  • Blue-green algae exist in fresh waters in Great Britain and throughout the world; they are noticed when their concentrations increase to form “blooms” and when they form scums – looking like blue-green paint – or when they collect on shorelines.
  • Some blue-green algae may give rise to adverse medical effects – but not always. Effects on people coming into contact with toxic scums include skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and pains in muscles and joints. Toxic algae have caused deaths of livestock and dogs, waterbirds, and fish. The actions currently taken are precautionary.
  • The behaviour of algae is erratic.
  • The level of its toxicity can fluctuate; it can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and mixing and re-accumulate at any time.
24 Aug 2021