Public warned of algal bloom presence at Loch Watten, Caithness
13th August 2019
The Highland Council is warning the public of the presence of an algal bloom at Loch Watten, Caithness, following an examination of sample water on Monday (12/08/19).
As a precautionary measure, environmental health have posted notices next to the water body, warning that contact with the algal scum or material should be avoided. Adjoining landowners and fishing interests have been advised of the situation as have NHS Highland and SEPA.
Guidelines for safe-practice in managing recreational waters published by the World Health Organisation indicate that during formation of cyanobacterial scum there may be potential for acute poisoning, long-term illness with some cyanobacterial species, and short-term adverse health outcomes, e.g. skin irritations, gastrointestinal illness.
Posters erected in the Loch Watten area warn the public that:
Swallowing the water or algal scum can cause stomach upsets or more serious health effects.
Contact with the water or algal scum can cause skin problems.
It is a sensible precaution for you, your children and your animals to avoid contact with the scum and water close to it.
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 the shore line.
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 irritations, vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and pains in muscles and joints. Toxic algae have caused deaths of livestock and dogs, waterbirds and fish. The treatment of water supplies removes blue-green algae and additional treatment may be applied to destroy or remove toxins should they arise. 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.
The Highland Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland recognised to develop a Schools Digital Learning Hub, which provides a resource for staff, parents and pupils to support home learning. Prior to Covid-19, we had an estate of 27,000 Chromebooks that were already a part of our ICT in Learning Strategy.
Earlier today (Wednesday 1 July 2020) members of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee had the opportunity to discuss (by video conference) progress made with the Corran Ferry Project which is reviewing the options for securing a replacement ferry and considering the way forward for the future operation and management of the service. The Corran ferry service has reached a critical point and strategic decisions need to be made.
As Scotland prepares for the easing of lockdown and the re-opening of the tourism and hospitality sector, The Highland Council's Environmental Health are advising holiday accommodation providers to make sure their private water supplies are safe to drink. A large number of self-catering and tourist accommodation in the Highlands are served by private water supplies and with these being closed during the lockdown period, the water supply system may not have been maintained and could create a risk to the quality and safety of the drinking water.
Lesley, who previously worked for Hackney Local Authority in London, expressed how much she has enjoyed working for the Council. Lelsey started with highland council on 13 August 2019.
Following Scottish Government guidance on returning to construction sites across Scotland, works will be restarting on the EES:ABS scheme across the Highlands. In line with the guidance, contractors will be undertaking phased restarts and adhering to social distancing to allow workers to return to construction sites gradually while using measures such as hand hygiene.
Two prominent derelict buildings in Wick High Street are to be demolished following decades lying empty. Numbers 30 and 126 (known locally as Dominoes (the former cinema) and Sloans are to benefit from demolition and site clearance, before ownership is returned to the local community.
Highland Council has produced a new video which shines a spotlight on how children across the region have been able to continue learning during lockdown. Last month the Council produced a video 'Learning During Lockdown' to highlight how teachers were able to continue to deliver education despite the closure of school across the UK.
The Leader of The Highland Council has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, raising her deepest concerns over Eastern Airways decision to withdraw their Wick - Aberdeen Service. The decision by Eastern Airways follows Loganair's earlier decision to withdraw its Wick-Edinburgh route, which now leaves Wick John O'Groats Airport with no commercial services operating.
£257.6 million to help tackle COVID-19 approved by Parliament. Almost £258 million of additional funding for vital local services, such as food provision for those in need, education and social care, has been approved by the Scottish Parliament.
The Highland Council is inviting private landlords and providers of short-term lets, including Air B&B hosts who may be interested in leasing their property to the Council to get in touch. Chair of the Housing and Property Committee, Councillor Ben Thompson said: "The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all aspects of our daily lives and we have seen increased pressure on our homelessness service, including demand from the loss of tied accommodation in the hotel industry.