By Duncan Mackay

Strathclyde Loch swimDecember 2 - The polluted waters in Strathclyde Loch is one of the biggest threats to Glasgow 2014 hosting a successful Commonwealth Games, a key group led by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, has warned.

The Loch, which is located in the picturesque Strathclyde Country Park, is scheduled to host the 1,500 metres open-air swim that is due to begin the triathlon competition at Glasgow 2014.

But the quality of the water in the artificial loch has been a source of concern in recent years with a series of events being cancelled there, including the Great Scottish Swim in August.

A recent event staged in the Loch saw 57 of the 70 participants suffering sickness and diarrhoea.

People have now been banned for swimming or taking part in water sports in the Loch until the end of the year.

Alex Salmond profileScotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has demanded a solution to the problem of pollution at Strathclyde Loch

Minutes from the Scottish Government's Glasgow 2014 Strategic Group, which Salmond leads, show the pollution threat in the Loch is now "one of the principal risks affecting Games delivery", according to a report in today's edition of The Sunday Herald.

Salmond personally "highlighted the resolution of this issue as critical".

Scottish Water and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency are working on a £150,000 ($240,000/€185,000) plan to improve the loch water before 2014.

A Glasgow 2014 spokesman said: "It is a matter of good Games planning to have contingency plans across the theatre of operations."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

elated stories
August 2012: Fears grow over triathlon venue for Glasgow 2014 after Great Scottish Swim cancelled
August 2012: Glasgow 2014 may move triathlon venue over pollution fears
August 2011: Coe impressed by progress for triathlon at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games