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Battling Space Invaders in the National Park

By Published July 20, 2017

With support from Yorkshire Water, the North York Moors National Park Authority is preparing to tackle two non-native invasive plant species on four key rivers and their catchments – the rivers Esk, Rye, Seph and Seven.

Yorkshire Water has provided £40,000 of funding over four years for an invasive plant control programme that targets Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam, both of which pose a threat to our native plants and animals.

The work to tackle Himalayan balsam (below) is already underway, and the Japanese knotweed (bottom) programme will start in September 2017.

The plants are escapees from domestic gardens, capable of spreading rapidly along watercourses. These vigorous species smother native plants during the summer, before dying back in the winter, leaving river banks without any stabilising vegetation. The river banks are therefore more vulnerable to erosion.

Roy McGhie, Conservation Projects Assistant at the North York Moors National Park, said:

“Although these invasive plants look attractive, they pose a serious risk to the river catchments in the National Park and beyond. It’s fantastic that Yorkshire Water is able to help us carry out this programme of works.”

National Park Authority staff and volunteers will co-ordinate the survey and control programmes and carry out any necessary work.

Roy added:

“We also encourage people to pull up any Himalayan balsam they discover on their land, where it is safe to do so, before the plants set seed. Local efforts such as this, as well as the help from landowners, volunteers and companies such as Yorkshire Water, means that we can make a real impact on the amount of non-native invasive plant species in the National Park.”

To report any sightings of Himalayan balsam or Japanese knotweed along the Esk, Seph, Seven or Rye river catchments, please call 01439 772700 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read 1264 times Last modified on Thursday, 20 July 2017 10:07
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