Warning over algae which could be fatal to dogs in popular Buckinghamshire park

Hundreds of algae clumps have appeared on the water’s surface

By Rory Butler, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:48 pm

Dog owners and park users have been warned to stay away from the water at a popular park which may have a potentially harmful algae growing on it.

Bucks Council has advised pet owners and park-goers to avoid The Dyke, on The Rye, in High Wycombe, until the Environment Agency has confirmed blue-green algae is forming there that needs to be treated.

Hundreds of algae clumps have appeared on the water’s surface.

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Although confirmation that is in fact blue-green algae is yet to be established, Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) toxins can cause sickness or vomiting, and skin irritations, in humans.

It can also be fatal for domestic pets, livestock, and wild animals.

There is also a foul smell coming from the water, according to one member of the public who demanded the council do something about it.

“@BucksCouncil can you please do something about it as it stinks and it’s impossible to walk or stand next to it,” they tweeted.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), they said: “I don’t really know why it smells. It may be due to a blockage and the heat.

“It’s impossible to walk or exercise near. It’s located near the tennis courts.”

Another resident said the water “doesn’t usually look that bad”.

One person wrote on social media: “There is rotting algae at the drain leading to the waterfall and the stench is vile. It can’t be healthy for anyone paddling near the waterfall.

“I was talking to a dog owner last night who said that her dog had diarrhoea and vomiting after being in the water there.”

The Rye has also won the prestigious Green Flag Award, which is a sign of a “well-managed, clean and safe park”, according to Keep Britain Tidy.

Cabinet member for culture and leisure, Cllr Clive Harriss, said: “We want to assure residents and park users that we are aware of the unpleasant smell at The Rye.

“We have inspected the site and have noted that some clumps of algae appear to be forming on the surface of the watercourse.

“We have contacted the Environment Agency who will be sending someone out to take a look and advise on what to do to resolve the issue.

“In the meantime, we advise dog owners and anyone hiring boats to take extra care and to avoid contact with the water in case this is confirmed as being blue-green algae."