Skip navigation

Gloucestershire Business News

Slimbridge employee's award for targeting a Himalayan invader

A worker at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge has been working hard during his lunch hour to eradicate a troublesome invasive plant.

Robin Jones, a technology officer at the WWT has all-but eradicated Himalayan Balsam from their nearby canal during lunchtime running sessions.

Since April, he has pulled up 5,709 balsam plants, enough to cover 286kilometres, the same distance that spans Bristol to Liverpool.

Mr Jones targeted the plant as it destroys other natives around it by releasing poison, because he feared it would eventually spread to the nature reserve.

His dedication has earned him a Marsh Impact Volunteer Award from the Canal and River Trust.

Mr Jones said: "I wouldn't go for lunchtime runs as half as much as if I didn't think there was balsam to be stopped. It's keeping me fit.

"The plant's small seeds are spread by an explosive head which can project them several metres away, meaning they spread like wildfire.

"I knew I had to take action before it ended up in the grounds of Slimbridge and thankfully it's paid off."

Himalayan Balsam was first brought to Britain by explorers in the early 19th century and first recorded in the wild in 1855.

It is a tall, easy-on-the-eye, annual herb which grows pink, purple flowers. It thrives particularly along river beds, where it outmatches native species.

But thanks to Mr Jones' hard work, the local plants have been stopped in their tracks.

And while he hasn't given up his current battle, he has now turned his attention to Orange Balsam - a North American invader - which has reached Slimbridge.

He added: "These plants may look pretty but they pose a real danger to our native species and now WWT is working on removing it from the reserve.

"It just goes to show you the power of individual people taking action. Everyone has the potential to make a difference."

Related Articles

Tender process underway to find contractor to build new 4.5 acre Cheltenham trade park Image

Tender process underway to find contractor to build new 4.5 acre Cheltenham trade park

Demolition work is already underway at the former Vibixa factory site on the corner of Wymans Lane and Runnings Road.

Roads reopen after flooding with peak level expected to be lower than last week despite latest rain Image

Roads reopen after flooding with peak level expected to be lower than last week despite latest rain

After nearly a week under water, the A417 at Maisemore opened to traffic this morning.

Engineering firm builds bridge to growth and profits Image

Engineering firm builds bridge to growth and profits

A firm known world-wide for building bridges has engineered a road back to profit and a £26.8 million turnover.

New county retirement apartments lead the way in renewable energy Image

New county retirement apartments lead the way in renewable energy

A collection of 65 new retirement apartments in the centre of Cheltenham is the first local retirement development to use pioneering technology to cut its CO₂ emissions by up to 75 per cent and reduce energy bills.

Copyright 2020 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.