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Working to fight foreign plants

Southern Water is investing to protect the environment from harmful invasive non-native species.

“Invasive Non-Native Species Week will take place between the 24th and 30th of May this and is an important time to raise awareness of the harm invasive species can do — and what we can all do to check their spread,” said Tom Alexander, one of Southern Water’s team of ecologists.

“We’re involved in projects costing £30,000 across the region designed to halt the spread of the most damaging, including ground breaking trials designed to slow down New Zealand pygmy weed by using a mite which feeds on the plant — but not on our native species, and similar trials to tackle floating pennywort — a river killer,” he added.

“Getting kayakers, paddle boarders and anglers to inspect equipment after use, to clean it up and to recognise water-borne invasive species is crucial work in stopping the spread of threats such as the Demon Shrimp so I’m delighted that we will be investing a further £55,000 on promoting the ‘Check Clean and Dry’ campaign,” he said.

Currently the five most feared invasive species for Southern Water are: New Zealand pygmy weed, Himalayan balsam, Japanese knot weed, Giant hogweed and floating pennywort.

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