Friends of the Lake District is very aware of the public disquiet around water quality in Windermere and other waterbodies in Cumbria and on the Cumbrian coast and share the concerns of our members and supporters who have contacted us about it.

Many people have asked us what we are going to do about it, and in answer, we will continue to support campaigns against discharges into Windermere and we will continue to raise the issue of water pollution with United Utilities and the Environment Agency in meetings and consultation responses. 

There are people who would like us to campaign directly on this issue. In response to this, we would say that there are other individuals and organisations who have more experience on the subject of water quality and water pollution than Friends of the Lake District and who can put more expertise and capacity into campaigning for clean water.

This does not mean that we don’t care about water pollution, but rather, it is a more efficient and effective use of our resources to support those who are already successfully campaigning on these issues.  In our recent Conserving Lakeland members' magazine we ran a piece by Matt Staniek, who has brought the issue of pollution in Windermere to millions of people through appearances on Countryfile, TV news and social media.  

We are looking to the new Love Windermere Partnership as a means of tackling some of the upstream pollution issues such as septic tank discharges and agricultural runoff. We are hopeful that some of the measures put in place will improve the quality of the water.  The Love Windermere Partnership has come about because of pressure exerted by members of the public raising concerns about water quality in the lake, so it is positive to see that public pressure is having results.    

The Big Windermere Survey of water quality is a citizen science project being run by the Freshwater Biological Association with water samples being analysed by Lancaster University.  The data that come out of this will, over the long term, show whether the quality of Windermere’s water is improving or not.  We will be watching and challenging where necessary.