Himalayan balsam is threatening the upper reaches of the River Stour – Stourhead, Silton, Milton, Peacemarsh and Gillingham.

Now, the town council is working in partnership with Bourton Wildlife and Habitat Group, Dorset Wildlife Trust and landowners to help control the spread of the deadly plant.

Work parties will get to grips with the menace throughout June, July and August. Contact the town council on 01747 823588, or email gtc@gillinghamdorset-tc.gov.uk

Last year, the council began work to control Himalayan Balsam on the River Lodden, which flows though the large public open spaces at King John Road and Ham Farm, and will continue again this year, but partnership working is needed to fully combat the spread of Balsam on the watercourse.  Other invasive non-active plant species threateting the countryside include Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Skunk Cabbage.

Himalayan Balsam is a non-native species that costs UK taxpayers £2.7 billion a year to control. The non-native species is a major cause of loss to native biodiversity in many parts of the world and also here in Dorset. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to control it is to cut the plant down before it flowers, or pull up the whole plant before the seed head matures starting in June, with a follow up session in August and annually.

Contact Briony Baxter at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620 or email bbaxter@dorsetwilldlifetrust.org.uk

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