Estée Lauder pledges money to help Windermere

Studies are being carried out to find out why Windermere is experiencing water quality problems

A cosmetics company has pledged £100,000 to investigate water quality issues in England’s largest lake.

The Estée Lauder Companies money will explore what it said were “nature-based improvements” to Windermere.

Earlier this year there were concerns the lake could “face disaster” amid an increase in blue-green algae blooms.

Sewage, aging septic tanks and runoff from agricultural land have all been named as contributing factors to water quality issues.

A Lancaster University investigation reported in September found that water quality was not “high” in all areas, but that there were “no signs” of pollution across the lake.

A blue-green algae bloom in Windermere in June 2022

A blue-green algae bloom was confirmed at Windermere in June

Studies are being carried out by the Love Windermere project involving many other groups – including the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA), the Environment Agency, the Freshwater Biological Association, the Lake District Foundation, United Utilities, the National Trust, the NFU, of Cumbria LEP and the South Cumbria Rivers Trust.

A pilot project – funded by money from Estée Lauder – will examine whether water quality could be improved by removing unnecessary nutrients from entering the water.

Among the ideas being considered are planting additional woodlands, installing seepage dams that mimic the natural barrier caused by trees and branches falling into rivers, and creating hay meadows.

“Not a quick fix”

Richard Leafe, LDNPA chief executive, said: “While the lake currently meets water standards, we know it is not as good as it could be and phosphorus pollution in particular is a problem.

“While the issues facing Windermere are not going to be solved quickly, we know that by addressing them through a series of Love Windermere projects, all partners are committed to finding long-term solutions that will benefit the lake, its biodiversity and everyone who lives, works and enjoys it the Windermere’.

The Estée Lauder Companies has pledged £500,000 over the next five years to fund pioneering nature restoration projects in the UK’s National Parks.

Sue Fox, chairman of Estée Lauder Companies UK and Ireland, said she had visited Windermere this summer.

She added: “It was great to meet local landowners who explained the principles of sustainable farming to me and I’m excited to support the provision of improved water quality and biodiversity in this area.”

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