After a weekend of gorgeous heat and sunshine, ice creams and tank tops, the return of the damp weather has had us all piling the layers back on top of our new tans. Unfortunately the heat wave has also resulted in blooms of algae out on the reserve.

There have been many reports across social media about blue-green algae in the water at Fairburn Ings and after testing by the Environment Agency, we can confirm its presence in some areas of the reserve.

Blue-green algae is naturally occurring but the toxins it produces can be very harmful to animals and cause illness in humans. We are advising anyone visiting the reserve to avoid contact with water and dog owners should not allow their dogs near or into the water.

We are continuing to work with the Environment Agency to monitor the situation, and in time the toxin levels will drop naturally, making the affected areas safe again. We will let you know when this happens.

This issue does not extend to pond dipping; the pond dipping areas have also been tested and confirmed as safe to use. Pond dipping will continue as usual but if you have any queries please don’t hesitate to speak to a member of staff or call the visitor centre on 01977 628191.


Fairburn from above, David Wootton (

We have also been made aware that a number of dogs have become sick, and in some cases have unfortunately had to be put down, after coming into contact with blue green algae at St Aidan’s country park, on the outskirts of Leeds.

Although St Aidan’s isn’t an RSPB site, as conservation advisors, we have been working with the site owners to alert people of the dangers of blue-green algae and advise them to keep dogs away from the water.

For more information about blue green algae please contact Scott Higgins at LCC Environmental Health on 0113 395 1168.