Island Roads on lookout for Himalayan invader

Posted on: June 19, 2024 at 9:00 am

The ongoing battle against the invasive Himalayan balsam plant has been reinforced by Island Roads.

Members of the Highways PFI company’s frontline staff, including district stewards, were given a briefing about the destructive plant by Natural Enterprise’s Rivers and Invasive Species Project Manager Carol Flux.

They were reminded what the plant looks like, where is has most likely to be seen and what to do should they come across it while out on their duties inspecting the Island’s highways network

Himalayan balsam is an invasive non-native plant that has taken root in large sections of the Island particularly along watercourses. It is listed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as a species that poses a conservation threat to native biodiversity and habitats and it is an offence to plant or cause Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) to grow in the wild.

As well as competing for resources against native species, Himalayan balsam can also cause problems by exposing the banks of colonised water courses to erosion in winter when it dies back.

Carol said: “We need to be on constant guard against this damaging species and having the support of Island Roads staff who are continually out and about across the road and footway network is very welcome.”

Island Roads staff have previously received similar awareness training about another threat to the Island’s ecology – the Asian hornet.

An Island Roads spokesperson said: “We are always keen to ensure our people are aware of local environmental threats so we were pleased to host Carol who gave a valuable refresher briefing.

“Staff are now fully up to speed with the latest areas at risk from Himalayan balsam and we look forward to doing our bit to help prevent the march of this invasive species.”