PRESS RELEASE: Concern at spread of invasive plant

Issue date: 10th July 2017

Concerned about the spread of Himalayan balsam, even beyond the rivers and canals where it has usually been found, The Inland Waterways Association has launched a new campaign to encourage everyone to get involved in controlling this invasive plant.  In addition to its series of work parties organised by various IWA branches around the country, IWA wants to see more individuals helping to control the plant following calls in national newspapers and elsewhere that the plant has become even more widespread this year.  

Whether people are walking the dog or out with family and friends, everyone can help by pulling up a few plants if they see it before the seeds have started to develop. IWA has come up with a 3 stage check list, Pull Snap Stomp, to remind people what to do: 

  • Pull - Check IWA’s Himalayan Balsam identification guide to be certain that it is Himalayan balsam and then pull up individual balsam stems – they pull up very easily,
  • Snap – break off the root below the lowest growing node,
  • Stomp – Pile it up in small heaps for it to rot down, away from the path. Bigger piles can be stamped on to assist the rotting process – small children love doing this and it makes a great sound!

And that’s all there is to it, although IWA does also ask people not to trespass onto private land beyond the towpath or bank, to only pull up the Himalayan balsam where it is safe to do so, and not to pull up any plants once the seeds have developed later in the summer, in order to avoid it being spread to new locations.  

Further advice and information about Himalayan Balsam and the Pull Snap Stomp campaign can be found on IWA’s website, including a downloadable poster, and people are being encouraged to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #PullSnapStomp.  


Photographs and attachments

  • Photo - close up of Himalayan Balsam – photo by Erica Martin
  • Photo – family and friends join the campaign by pulling up some Himalayan balsam while out on walk – photo by Alison Smedley
  • #PullSnapStomp campaign poster (2MB)

Higher resolution versions and alternative images available on request.  

Press Contact

For further information please contact Alison Smedley, Press Office, The Inland Waterways Association, by emailing or phoning 07779 090915.

Notes for Editors

The Inland Waterways Association

IWA is The Inland Waterways Association, a membership charity that works to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of canals and rivers.  IWA is a national organisation with a network of volunteers and branches who deploy their expertise and knowledge to work constructively with navigation authorities, government and other organisations.  The Association also provides practical and technical support to restoration projects through its expert Waterway Recovery Group.

IWA - Keeping our waterways alive.

Photo – family and friends join the campaign by pulling up some Himalayan balsam while out on walk – photo by Alison SmedleyPhoto - close up of Himalayan Balsam – photo by Erica Martin

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