Project tackling invasive plants in New Forest handed £45,000 Environment Agency grant
A PROJECT to control invasive non-native plants in the New Forest has received a £45,000 cash boost.
The funding from the Environment Agency (EA) will go towards helping Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to tackle the spread of plants such as Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed. These have "jumped the garden fence" and invaded the countryside, causing harm to native wildlife.
With the help of volunteers, project officers Catherine Chatters and Jo Gore have been busy clearing land along the Cadnam River, Avon Water and the Lymington River, along with its tributaries the Passford Water and the Mill Lawn Brook.
Catherine Chatters said: “I am really pleased that our bid to the Environment Agency has been successful as it’s enabled the New Forest Non-Native Plants Project to start work on the Danes Stream, which has been invaded by Himalayan balsam and American skunk cabbage.
"With the co-operation of landowners and help from the Milford Conservation Volunteers, we’ve started to pull up the balsam and contractors have been commissioned to control the American skunk cabbage.”
Sam Orchard, New Forest catchment coordinator for the EA, said: “We are pleased to support this important project. Invasive non-native species outcompete native species and can easily get out of control, impacting wildlife and even water quality.
"This work will protect and enhance many kilometres of river running through the New Forest and reduce the threat these plants pose to protected habitats and species.”
The project is funded by a partnership made up of the Environment Agency, the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, Forestry England, the national park authority, Natural England, the New Forest Trust, the Test and Itchen Catchment Partnership and Lymington and Pennington Town Council.
The latest grant has come from the EA's Water Environment Improvement Fund, and will help take the project well into next year.