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Invasive plant pulled from Essex river bank

PUBLISHED: 11:13 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:25 20 August 2019

Staff removing Himalayan Balsam from the Roman River Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Staff removing Himalayan Balsam from the Roman River Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

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An invasive plant, known as Himalyan Balsam, has been successfully pulled from the bank of an Essex river.

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive, non-native plant Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYHimalayan Balsam is an invasive, non-native plant Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Officers from the Environment Agency and Defence Infrastructure Organisation spent two days removing the non-native plant from the Roman River near Colchester.

Himalayan Balsam competes for nutrients, light and space with other native plants. When it enters rivers it can increase the risk of flooding by blocking its flow.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "It was a very successful two days. We removed the Balsam that had re-grown at a site which was cleared two years ago.

"We also cleared patches in or directly adjacent to the river, limiting the chance of seeds entering the watercourse and spreading the plant."

Himalayan Balsam being removed near Colchester Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYHimalayan Balsam being removed near Colchester Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

"It became apparent that Himalayan Balsam is more prevalent in the area than first thought, however by targeting specific sites posing most risk, we can help limit its spread."

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"As we hand-pulled the plant, taking the roots with it, and left it in piles, it shouldn't re-grow. However we will be making checks in the next few months."

What should I do if I spot Himalayan Balsam?

If you come across the plant, the Environment Agency suggests that you should only try to remove it if it hasn't set seed.

Otherwise touching the plant will help spread the seeds.

The best way to remove the plants is to pull them up, put them on a pile away from a watercourse and put a plastic sheet underneath them to stop the roots from growing.

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