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Main lake at Conningbrook Lakes in Ashford closed after blue-green algae that killed dogs is found

A lake has been sealed off after killer algae was found growing in the water.

The main lake at Conningbrook Lake Country Park has been closed to the public following the discovery of blue-green algae.

The substance was found to be responsible for the deaths of three dogs at Brooklands Lakes in Dartford last month.

Conningbrook Lakes
Conningbrook Lakes

Ashford Borough Council says the Environment Agency confirmed the presence of the algae after test results came back late this afternoon.

They advised the council to shut the lake, although the country park remains open. Users of the lake including sports clubs have been told.

Members of the public are already advised not to go into the water and to keep dogs on leads, but strict warnings are now being issued.

Kent Wildlife Trust has also moved the cattle at Conningbrook - as they sometimes stand in the water - as a precautionary measure.

Top Dog Training School, Dartford, where Ineta works
Top Dog Training School, Dartford, where Ineta works

Last month, a woman was left facing a shocking £13,000 vet bill after a scenic dog walk turned in a tragedy when three young and beloved canines died.

Dog walker and trainer Ineta Kevin was out with 10 dogs – including her own two – in tow.

The excited pooches dived into Brooklands Lake, off Powder Mill Lane, but unbeknownst to anyone, the water was infested with deadly blue-green algae.

"The public should be reassured that we have acted as quickly as possible on the sound and expert advice given" - Cllr Jessamy Blanford

When the dogs started having seizures, she drove them straight to the vets. Three could not be saved, and five of the others face lifelong problems and further medical treatment.

The Brooklands Lake has since reopened.

At Conningbrook, people are being told not to go in or take part in any activity on the lake, not to let children or pets in the water, and to keep dogs on leads.

The algae blooms, which can be triggered by a number of factors, are a naturally occurring phenomena and will clear up on their own.

If humans come into contact with the algae, it can cause a skin rash. It should not be ingested, and would make a person feel unwell if they swallowed a large amount of it.

It is very harmful to animals.

Councillor Jessamy Blanford said: "It is disappointing that the lake has had to close but we must act on the expert advice given to us by colleagues at the Environment Agency. It will clear over time but we must wait for that to happen naturally.

2013: blue-green algae appears at Brooklands Lakes
2013: blue-green algae appears at Brooklands Lakes

"In the meantime the public should be reassured that we have acted as quickly as possible on the sound and expert advice given.

"It is very important that the public follow the advice we are giving out about safety near the water. That way everyone can still enjoy the country park itself, until such time as the lake is able to reopen."

The Environment Agency will be carrying out regular tests on the water at Conningbrook, and the council will inform sports clubs when the lake is safe to use again.

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