What is blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae is a term used to describe a group of bacteria, called cyanobacteria. They are not actually algae but organisms that clump together in bodies of water that give the appearance of algae.
This type of bacteria is always present in water bodies in low quantities but only becomes problematic when it blooms and clumps together in large areas. When this happens, you’ll be able to see a blue-green scum that appears on the surface of the water or you’ll be able to see green flakes, greenish bundles or brown dots on the water.
Blooms mostly happen in non-flowing fresh water during hot weather and when there’s not a lot of rain, that’s why we see outbreaks at our lakes, but these blooms can also occur at other times of the year.
Is it harmful?
Blooms of blue-green algae at high levels can produce toxins hazardous to people and animals. If you come into contact with water where there is a suspected algae bloom, wash your hands thoroughly before eating, drinking or putting your hands near your mouth. Blue-green algae can cause skin rashes, sickness, stomach pains, fever and headaches in humans.
Do not allow dogs to enter or drink from the water, where there is suspected blue-green algae blooms. Blue-green algae can be fatal to dogs and can also cause long term health issues in dogs that survive drinking contaminated water. Please do note that not all types of blue-green algae are dangerous.
If your dog shows any of the following signs after drinking from, or swimming or paddling in water, contact your vet immediately and tell them you are concerned about blue-green algae:
- Vomiting/being sick
- Breathing difficulties
Are your lakes monitored for blooms?
We monitor the lakes within our care for blue-green algae particularly where people are licensed to go on or in the water such as Willen Lake or Caldecotte Lake. If we suspect there is a bloom in a certain location, we will attempt to put signage in place, but this can’t always be done due to the sheer volume of water bodies we manage. Blooms can also appear and then disappear in a 24-hour period.
If you think you have spotted blue-green algae in the water and can’t see any signage already in place, please report this to us on email@example.com
A branch overhangs my boundary. What can I do?
Overhanging material is usually dealt with as part of our thinning and coppicing programme. Unfortunately, it is not practical for us to respond immediately unless the overhanging branches are causing, or are likely to cause, actual damage to your property. If you prefer not to wait, you can cut the branch at the point at which it enters your property. The only exception to this are trees which are protected (see below). Hedges which run alongside garden boundaries are usually routinely cut once a year on the Trust side.
All Parks Trust tree-felling operations are subject to an overall plan which has been approved by the Forestry Commission.
How do I know whether the trees adjacent to my boundary are legally protected?
A small number of older trees in Milton Keynes are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or blanket TPO areas (covering whole areas). Others are protected because they are situated within a conservation area. The Park’s Trust’s landscape staff can usually advise you whether the trees bordering your property are protected. But it is the local authority, Milton Keynes Council, which is responsible for administering TPOs and conservation areas within the city. If in doubt contact the Council before undertaking tree work. The Council's on Arboricultural Officer, Bob Widd, can be contacted on 01908 691691.
Why have you let the trees grow high enough to block the light to my garden and make it shady?
The Parks Trust believes it is important to be a good and responsible neighbour. When we are thinning plantations along garden boundaries we generally write to our neighbours in advance of any works. Where possible we favour smaller growing trees and shrubs in order to minimise the effect of tree shade on gardens. It is inevitable that with so many tree-covered areas bordering gardens, some gardens will at some time be in the shade. Some neighbours will like the seclusion the trees offer, others will not. We have to take a balanced view and consider factors such as the landscape, its general design, how it is now, the future and its neighbours, while not forgetting wildlife habitat influences.
Why do you cut trees down?
There are a number of reasons why you may see our team or contractors removing trees. Check out our tree thinning section to find out more.
Why do you cut back shrubs?
Cutting back (coppicing) some shrubs in the dormant season is an important and traditional technique that actually promotes the plants’ health and allows rich, vibrant regrowth that brings colour to the landscape. Find out more about our coppicing work.
What can I do about your thinning and coppicing programme which has reduced the screening around my property and taken away my privacy?
Ultimately the landscape can never be a guaranteed screen as it is a living dynamic thing that changes over time. Trees and shrubs are constantly growing and changing and need proper management. Thinning and rotational coppicing does involve opening up areas from time to time, but as light levels increase and nutrients become more available, tree and shrub re-growth increases dramatically to fill the space. We tend to coppice shrubs in the dormant season between Christmas and the end of March and it is not unusual to see the re-growth reaching a height of 1 metre by the end of August.
What about increased noise levels I experience since you thinned the trees and shrubs nearby?
Noise issues usually arise where homes are adjacent to the parkways or grid roads. While trees and shrubs may have a limited effect on noise levels it is actually the width and mounding of roadside reservations that has the most impact on noise reduction in residential areas. All noise attenuation planning considerations in Milton Keynes were calculated ignoring any potential effect of vegetation.
Can you do anything about the leaves falling into my garden in the autumn and causing a nuisance?
We appreciate that while dead leaves are not a nuisance in the legal sense of causing ‘substantial harm’ they can be irritating. Unfortunately, it is simply not practical for The Parks Trust to remove leaf litter from individual gardens. We do have a programme of tree works on the boundary throughout the city but with the grid roads alone being 180 kilometres long this is not a quick job. Whilst not aimed at dealing with leaf nuisance in private gardens, this work will help reduce the aggravation this issue causes.
Will tree roots which are crossing my property boundary damage my foundations?
Like tree branches, roots do not respect boundaries. Removal of larger trees and vigorous shrubs adjacent to property boundaries helps to reduce the problem. Occasionally on clay soils tree roots may cause shrinkage beneath a building foundation causing differential settlement particularly where foundations are shallow or inadequate. Most modern Milton Keynes homes are built with foundations which took account of local planting (often in place before the buildings) and are deep enough to avoid the effects of clay shrinkage from trees growing on Parks Trust land. There are many other causes of subsidence other than tree roots extracting moisture. Property owners do have a legal right to remove any tree roots that enter into their land. If you choose this course of action we would like to be informed, as it may have a bearing on how we manage those individual trees.
If you are concerned that roots from The Parks Trust’s trees have damaged your property please inform us as soon as possible. You should also consult your property insurers or seek other professional advice.
Why didn’t the Parks Trust consult me before undertaking work near my property?
We believe it is important to consult and inform our neighbours about significant or sensitive works near their boundary but it is not always straightforward. For example, the Trust carries out over 2,000 separate tree and shrub works in the city each year and resources mean that it simply is not possible to inform all our neighbours about such routine thinning and coppicing operations. However, we do try and identify largescale works or those that might be sensitive to local residents. We then write to residents informing them of the work taking place, explaining why it is happening and giving them an opportunity to query the work or take action such as upgrading their fencing.
We are always happy to deal with your queries, and explain about upcoming works, some of which are posted on this website.
Why are all the Horse Chestnut trees dying?
Horse chestnut trees in the UK have been under increasing attack from several diseases, namely bleeding canker, Leaf Miner moth and leaf blotch.
How does the Trust deal with these diseases?
One of the messages linked to the effects of climate change is that it will lead to trees in the British Isles being more open to pests and diseases which have traditionally been associated with warmer climates. One tactic we use is to not rely on mono-cultures or single species of tree, but use a diversity of species. When carrying out thinning works we look to retain various types of trees rather than one type. Sudden and acute diseases of Oak is perhaps a reason we should not be over reliant on Oak as we do not know what affect those diseases will have in the future.
When carrying out new planting works we tend to use trees with a good record against pest or pathogen attack such as the Wild Service Tree (Sorbus Torminalis). We have no intention of removing Horse Chestnut from the Milton Keynes landscape but will perhaps not be so reliant on them as we have been in the past.
Can I take dead wood from the parks, grid roads or woodlands?
Dead wood provides an important habitat for insect life, which in turn helps support the rich variety of birds and butterflies you see in the parks. So we’d prefer you to leave dead wood where it is.
We do harvest and sell logs from some of the trees that are felled during thinning operations. These log piles are the private property of the Parks Trust. The logs are cut or chipped for use elsewhere in the parks or gathered together to be sold in quantities of approximately 5 tonnes which are then delivered to paying customers. Find out about firewood sales.
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- 01908 233600
- The Parks Trust
- Campbell Park Pavillion
- 1300 Silbury Boulevard
- Campbell Park
- Milton Keynes
- MK9 4AD