§ Tony Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will instruct English Nature to prepare a report on the health, breeding and distribution of brown trout, sea 615W trout, salmon and other fish resident in Bassenthwaite Lake and the river system feeding the lake and flowing from it; 
(2) which statutory bodies have responsibility for (a) protecting water quality, (b) protecting aquatic species, (c) dealing with pollution and (d) protecting flora and fauna in the environment of Bassenthwaite Lake in Workington constituency; where responsibility lies in each case; 
(3) if she will seek a report from the Lake District National Park Authority on discharges of (a) untreated sewage and (b) other pollutants into Bassenthwaite Lake; what plans the Authority has to reduce discharge and remove phosphate deposits from the Lake; 
(4) what recent reports she has received from English Nature on the health of Vendace and the numbers of that species in Bassenthwaite Lake; 
(5) what reports she has received from the Environment Agency about levels of phosphate pollution and the incidence of algal blooms in Bassenthwaite Lake and the River Derwent; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Morley
The statutory bodies that are principally responsible for water quality, species, pollution, and flora & fauna protection are the Environment Agency, English Nature and the Lake District National Park Authority.
The Environment Agency is responsible for enforcing statutory controls on the entry of pollutants to controlled waters, and has specific duties in relation to protecting aquatic species. It is also the co-ordinator for the Bassenthwaite Lake Restoration Project that was set up last year to ensure an integrated approach to tackling the complex, longstanding pressures on the lake.
All public bodies have a statutory duty to to take reasonable steps, consistent with the exercise of their functions, to further the conservation and enhancement of the features for which the lake has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Since the lake forms part of the River Derwent and Bassenthwaite Lake candidate Specal Area of Conservation, further duties on all statutory authorities in exercising their functions must have due regard to the requirements of the Habitats Directive.
Given its central role in the restoration programme and its duties in relation to fisheries, the Environment Agency is best placed to report on the health, breeding and distribution of fish species. The Derwent Salmon Action Plan consultation document contains information on the salmon population status in the Derwent catchment for the period 1990 to 2000. For most years the population achieved a considerable surplus over its conservation target. The most recent reliable data (for 2000) shows that the population level was almost double the conservation limit, indicating the population to be in very good health.
There is less information on the status of species in the lake but available evidence suggests that the Vendace population is low. This is thought to be due to siltation of their spawning grounds and competition and predation from alien species, probably introduced by anglers. Recent bye-laws regulating the use of dead and 616W live bait will control further introductions. The Environment Agency will be pleased to supply further information.
The Agency can also supply details of permitted discharges. The condition of the lake is considered stable owing to improvements to Keswick sewage treatment works. Planned investment should deliver further improvements. The Environment Agency will consider what further improvements may be necessary for the investment period 2005–2010 and is carrying out a study to assess the potential for removal of phospherus in the lakebed sediment. Discharges of untreated sewage are very dilute and not thought to add significantly to the overall nutrient load.
Diffuse sources of phosphorus and sediment pollution need to be addressed. Action under the restoration programme will need to include research to identify sources and causes of erosion and siltation; physical improvements to infrastructure including sewerage systems, farmsteads and highways; and improvements to agricultural practice through education and awareness campaigns.
Occurrences of blue green algal blooms have been recorded on: 4 December 1998; 1 May 2000; 19 September 2000; and 20 September 2002. Controlling the total amount of phosphorus entering the lake will help to limit loads overall may reduce the frequency and extent of all types of algal bloom but will not eliminate them entirely sicne they are a natural feature of this type of lake and form as a result of the interaction of a number of variables including climatic conditions, lake chemistry, wind speed and hours of sunlight.