Study creates first dataset on pollutants in English lakes

OPAL Water Centre scientists have published a report on their pioneering monitoring project at nine lakes across England.

Their study, which ran alongside the OPAL water survey, represents the first time some pollutants in England’s freshwaters have ever been measured or have been recorded on such a scale.

The OPAL Water Centre Monitoring Report 2008-2012 explains how they found that sediments from ponds reflect local events, national events and even international events such as radioactive fallout from Chernobyl.

Crag Lough in Northumberland

OPAL scientist Dr Neil Rose said: “The data can be used to help illustrate how individual actions can have larger impacts. Our study demonstrates that environmental change is not something that only happens in remote and exotic places but happens all the time where we each live and work.”

The nine lakes are spread throughout England, from Crag Lough in Northumberland to Slapton Ley in Devon.

They were chosen for their interest to local communities, and some are affected by unusual factors such as proximity to land-fill and subsidence from mining.

Dr Simon Turner, lead author of the report, said: “Such lakes would probably be avoided in ‘traditional’ monitoring schemes so we have provided data on lake types and impacts for which there was little information.

"This work has also added considerably to the knowledge of some pollutants and our understanding of them in these ecosystems.”

Read the interactive report or download high resolution copies

Download the press release (PDF, 277KB)


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