IWA Issues Advice on Himalayan Balsam

Issue date: 18th June 2013

IWA has produced a leaflet giving information about Himalayan Balsam, which is an invasive non-native species that crowds out other plants.  This is part of the Association’s co-ordinated campaign of increased awareness and work parties with Canal & River Trust to limit the spread the plant, which threatens existing native wildlife along the inland waterways.

The leaflet includes information about how to identify the plant, a step-by-step guide to planning a Himalayan Balsam work party, and information about what walkers and boaters can do to help prevent the plant spreading further. 

Download the Himalayan Balsam leaflet (PDF).

Risk assessment templates are also available to download.

The leaflet has been produced with support from Canal & River Trust, and details of how to report locations of Himalayan Balsam, or make contact with the volunteering teams in order to organise a work party on CRT waterways, are included in the leaflet.

Himalayan Balsam was introduced to Britain in the mid 19th Century by Victorian gardeners and in recent years has become a problem on many waterways around the country.  It pulls up very easily and is completely non-toxic, making it an ideal task for a volunteer work party. 

Several work parties have already been planned around the canal system to clear stretches of this invasive plant which crowds out native plants, on waterways including the Calder & Hebble Navigation, Caldon Canal, Grand Union Canal, Pocklington Canal and the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.  

Going on one of these work parties is a great activity for all the family (children must be accompanied and supervised).  Volunteers are advised to wear long trousers and long sleeves (as there may be nettles growing amongst the Balsam) and to wear stout shoes.  

If you know of any work parties already planned, or would like to suggest a location that would benefit from a Himalayan Balsam pulling session, please contact IWA’s Branch Campaign Team:  

Alison Smedley – 01538 385388 – alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk
Stefanie Preston – 01494 783453 – stefanie.preston@waterways.org.uk