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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK
Chemical find in Royal loch fish
Researchers studied fish on the Royal estate
Fish on the Queen's Balmoral Estate are polluted with higher than usual levels of chemicals, according to research.

A study of brown trout in Lochnagar found levels 10 times higher than in other northern European mountain lakes, conservation body WWF Scotland said.

Researchers from Spain and Norway, who examined four fish from the loch, were studying airborne movement of polybromodiphenyl, or PBDEs.

The flame-retardant chemicals are the by-product of high-tech industries.

Levels of chemicals found in the fish are not known to be hazardous.

WWF Scotland spokesman Richard Dixon said the pollution was able to travel thousands of miles due to prevailing winds.

Food chain

He said: "It is shocking that even remote parts of Scotland are contaminated with these chemicals.

"It is even worse when they turn up at one of our most famous locations, so closely associated with the Royal Family."

Dr Dixon added: "Once in the lake water they would have entered the food chain, eventually reaching the trout and anyone who has been eating them."

Experts examined lakes in Norway, the French Pyrenees, Austria, Slovakia, north west Bulgaria and Greenland - as well as Lochnagar.

The mountain, Lochnagar, which is near the loch of the same name, was made famous as the setting of Prince Charles' story, The Old Man of Lochnagar - which has since been dramatised for the stage and screen.

A spokesman for the Balmoral estate said he did not know how relevant the survey was or how harmful the chemicals were.

However, he presumed it was a worldwide problem.

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