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The battle against the balsam

Published: 24/06/2015

Volunteers are being urged to help fight the battle against Himalayan balsam. On Thursday 2 July, at 6pm, the annual Alyn Valley Himalayan balsam control project gets underway, with a ‘balsam pull’ in Mold. The meeting point is at the Rugby pitch at Leadmills in Mold, which is just off King street. The project is now into its seventh year, and aims to rid the River Alyn of the invasive plant Himalayan balsam. Thanks to the work done so far, there have been significant, positive changes made along the River Alyn between Llandegla and Mold. The banks are no longer dominated by pink Himalayan balsam and it has been replaced by a variety of native grasses, rushes and wildflowers. Cllr Bernie Attridge, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “We are very grateful to all our volunteers who have made the project the success that it has been so far, but we need everyone’s help again this year! We are looking for as many volunteers as possible to get involved this year and this launch event is a great way to get a taste for what needs doing. “The first part of Thursday’s event will be the balsam pull, which will run for about an hour, and then a buffet will be provided afterwards, to reward everyone’s hard work. Lawrence Gotts, Countryside Ranger for Flintshire County Council, said: “Please join in, and help us win our determined battle against the balsam! The event is open to the public, but it can be booked too – which will also help us to plan numbers. For more information, or to book a place, please email or call 01352 810586/614. Please bring your wellies and gloves!” Notes for Editors Himalayan balsam was first introduced into the British Isles in 1839 from the Western Himalayas. A relative of the bedding plant ‘Busy Lizzie’, you may also know it as Indian balsam or Policeman’s helmet. Over recent years, the pink non native plant has spread rapidly along our river and stream corridors. It can grow up to 2m tall, is little use to native wildlife and will suffocate other bankside vegetation, reducing biodiversity; it then dies back over winter, leaving bare banks which are easily erode