A NEW initiative to raise awareness about invasive weeds and the damage they can cause to local environments is taking root in Copeland.
Staff from West Cumbria Rivers Trust are to deliver an informal talk on invading and harmful plants such as Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam as part of their World Rivers Day activities on 22 September.
The environmental talk has been organised as part of the North East Copeland Community Lengthsmen Scheme, a partnership facilitated by Copeland Borough Council and funded by the Copeland Community Fund, Home Group and local parish councils.
The event has been organised as a result of feedback from parishes who are reporting the increasingly problematic spread of non-native species. It will help attendees understand what damage invasive weeds can cause and what measures can be put in place to control them.
Councillor Peter Kane, portfolio holder for environment, said: “This will be a highly informative session which will help people recognise which plants damage the surrounding environment, as well as highlighting the importance of invasive flora and fauna which in the modern age can easily be brought into the country or area.
“It is said that a weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. Worse still is that there are some really harmful weeds out there that have taken hold and cause a huge amount of damage to our waterways, indigenous plants and animals.”
Japanese Knotweed can block footpaths and damage concrete, tarmac, flood defences and the stability of riverbanks, whereas Himalayan Balsam is a major weed problem on river banks and waste land, but can also invade gardens.
A key objective of the North East Copeland Community Lengthsmen Scheme is to educate and train the community on environmental issues. It aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to care for their environment in the most sustainable and effective ways. Parishes involved include Cleator Moor, Arlecdon and Frizington, Ennerdale and Kinniside, Lamplugh, Weddicar. The scheme also incorporates two parishes in the Howgate and Distington locality, namely Moresby and Parton.
The free event takes place on Monday 22 September (11am until 12.30pm) at the Town Council Building on Cleator Moor Square. Refreshments will be included. Weather permitting, there may be an opportunity for a guided walk around the local area to identify real life examples. Places are limited, so please contact Chris Pickles, one of the Council’s Community Regeneration Officers, on 01946 598 326 or firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings.