Our volunteers help stop spread of killer weed alongside the River Meon
31 July 2018
Green-fingered volunteers from gas company SGN have helped stop an invasive weed in its tracks alongside the River Meon at Titchfield, near Fareham.
Colleagues from across our Stakeholder Relations and IT directorates joined forces with Groundwork South to tackle the spread of Himalayan Balsam along the river bank.
The plant was first introduced to the UK in 1839 for gardeners wanting a cheap alternative to orchids. Since then, the fast-growing plant has become a problem weed across the country. The pink-flowering plant towers over our native floral species, starving them of light and causing them to die away. Come the winter when the balsam also dies off, this leaves bare river banks without vegetation cover, which leads to increased erosion.
The 11-strong group gave up their time to volunteer with Groundwork South through our Community Action Programme, which gives each employee one day on company time each year to volunteer in our local communities.
Our Head of Community Pamela Goee said: “We removed around 1,000 plants over the course of the day. With each balsam plant containing up to 800 seeds, our team has helped prevent the spread of up to 800,000 future weeds in this section of the River Meon. We’re all really proud that we’ve made such an incredible difference in stopping the spread of this weed in just one day.”
Groundwork South’s Communities and Open Spaces Team Manager Chris Smith added: “We are working with the East Hampshire Catchment Partnership to coordinate a catchment-wide approach to controlling and containing the spread of Himalayan Balsam. This catchment consists of the Rivers Meon, Hamble, Lavant and Hermitage. Himalayan Balsam is a prolific growing plant and we rely on the hard work of volunteers such as this fantastic team from SGN, to help with removal of this invasive species. In a couple of years, we hope to see the catchment return to the species rich habitats that are so beneficial to all forms of life.”
Our green-fingered volunteers ready and raring to start work
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