03/07/18: Appeal for local heroes to be Balsam Bashers

Breckland Council, in partnership with Thetford Council, Anglian Water and the Cam and Ely Ouse Catchment Partnership (CamEO), are looking for volunteers to help tackle an alien invader which is threatening the Little Ouse riverbanks.

Members of the public are invited to join a working group in Thetford on Friday, 20th July, which intends to tackle the infamous Himalayan Balsam in the town's inaugural 'Balsam Bash', an event which has previously been held in other parts of the country to tackle the pesky weed elsewhere.

This quick spreading, non-toxic plant is part of a number of alien species that cost millions of pounds each year to control, whilst having a negative effect on our native wildlife and habitat, including increasing potential flooding issues.

The volunteers will be shown how to pull out the Balsam in a very controlled and easy method, before the seeds can develop and spread along the riverbank. Volunteers are asked to come wearing suitable outdoor clothing and bring their own gloves if possible.

The volunteer work party will take place on Friday 20th July at 9.30 a.m. with participants being asked to meet organisers at the tea shop on School Lane Road, Thetford at 9.30 am, where they will be trained on spotting the Balsham plant and then given designated pulling patches along the Little Ouse river.

Paul Claussen, Executive Member of Place at Breckland Council commented "The Balsam plant is quickly becoming a national menace for our local native habitats. We had a really good turn out for a recent litter pick in the town and we hope we get strong support this time too. The more volunteers we have, the more Himalayan Balsam we can bash! This will help to keep our riverbanks clear and attractive for residents and visitors."