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Saffron Building Society's 'green team' clear harmful Himalayan Balsam plant from River Stour

Building society staff have been praised after helping to clear vegetation from the River Stour.

The team from Saffron Building Society, which has a branch in Haverhill, volunteered to clear the harmful Himalayan Balsam plant from more than 4.5km of watercourse

They were guided by The Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust (ESRT), which aims to educate society about rivers and the biodiversity of the riverscape.

The Saffron Building Society staff and charity workers
The Saffron Building Society staff and charity workers

Andy Went, ESRT project and catchment officer, said: “Our projects are reliant on the goodwill of the people of Essex and Suffolk working to protect their rivers from pollution and a reduction in biodiversity. We’re reliant on volunteers, whether individuals or organisations like Saffron Building Society, who can spare the time to get involved.”

The Himalayan Balsam plant is an annual herb with explosive seed heads which is native to the west and central Himalayas and was brought to Britain as a garden plant in the early 19th century.

It prevents native species from growing and can cause erosion of riverbanks, impacting the quality of water and disrupts river species. Removing the plant before it goes to seed means its spread can be controlled.

Claire Hunnable, Saffron's community business partner, said: “Our 'green team' had a wonderful time being guided by ESRT as we tried to disrupt the reproduction of Himalayan Balsam plants.”

To volunteer, visit www.essexsuffolkriverstrust.org

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