Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae) in Inland and Inshore Waters: Assessment and Minimisation of Risks to Public Health

Guidance to Directors of Public

Health, to Heads of Environmental Health in Local Authorities (LAs), and to others in

Scotland, on possible risks to public health of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in inland

and inshore waters. It updates previous guidance under the same title that was published

by the Scottish Government Health Directorate previously in 2002, and revised in 2007.


8.1 Provision of public information on the local risks from cyanobacterial blooms - both directly (using, for example, leaflets) and through the news media is seen as important and is a requirement where affected waters are used for bathing and other water-contact activities.

8.2 Responsibility for the provision of information is likely to lie primarily with the owners of waters, employers and others similarly placed. However, local authorities, Scottish Water, SEPA and NHS Boards should consider when, by whom, and with what content, information which comes to their attention on cyanobacterial blooms should be given to:

  • waterbody owners
  • other official bodies
  • those engaged in healthcare - in particular, those providing haemodialysis services, General Practitioners and Veterinary Surgeons
  • those with identifiable interests - for example, those receiving haemodialysis, farmers, members of canoe and angling clubs and recreational authorities
  • the news media
  • the public

8.3 Active provision of information to the news media is considered in Annex I.

8.4 While local authorities, Scottish Water, SEPA and NHS Boards will have differing lead responsibilities (for example, NHS Boards in the assessment of and response to enquiries from the public on hazards to human health), stakeholders should seek agreement on the content of press releases, and on the information used by staff when responding to enquiries from the public.


Email: Janet Sneddon

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