DORSET Council has said it is looking at long-term solutions to combat bacteria in Weymouth’s Radipole Lake that has been linked to gull deaths across the area.

As previously reported in the Echo, more than 60 herring gulls had been found dead in recent weeks due to a suspected outbreak of avian botulism, a disease that can be spread through rotten plant or animal materials.

Although birds had been found dead across most of Weymouth and Portland, a significant proportion of them were found in the area in and around Radipole Lake.

The lake is subject to an annual build up of green algae, which could be a source of the disease outbreak.

There is no risk to humans from the disease – however there have been calls for the authorities to clear up the lake in the area of the swannery where some of the dead gulls seen.

Dorset Council has since organised for teams of divers to clear the lake of rubbish – teams found bikes, trolleys and other junk.

However, the council has said that the bacteria affecting the birds is naturally occurring and the situation with the lake will improve as the weather cools down.

Now councillors are looking to organise more clean-ups of the lake in the future and at possible solutions that will tackle the issue in the long term.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “Dorset Council is currently organising another clean-up of Radipole Lake and specialists contractors have been called in.

“Regular clean-ups have been carried out over the summer, contractors came last month and removed a lot of rubbish including shopping trolleys and bikes. Clean-ups have also been carried out by DEFRA and the Dorset Waste Partnership.

“It is upsetting to see birds affected, however, the Environment Agency have advised that this incident was caused by a naturally occurring bacteria, not pollution. Public Health England have confirmed that there isn’t a risk to public health.

“This is a naturally occurring phenomenon caused by hot weather, vegetation in the water, lower water levels and the slow-flowing river. Every year things improve when the weather cools.

“Dorset Council will continue to organise clean-ups and we are also looking at longer term solutions including using booms to block off areas. Any actions we take will require Natural England and Environment Agency approval.”