A group of green fingered Lickey End residents were so fed up with the environmental damage caused by Himalayan Balsam in their community they decided to take matters into their own hands. Gathering together on the first Sunday of October, a group of 20 residents cleared a long stretch of the brook at Lickey End Recreation Ground, shifting 85 large garden bags full of weeds between them.
Flooding caused by the Spadesbourne Brook overflowing has been a repeated issue in Lickey End, leading to Alcester Road having to be closed completely on the most serious occasions. Earlier in the year local councillor Rob Hunter lobbied Bromsgrove District Council to take action and a specialist contractor was brought in to dredge and clear the brook. The council is now developing a regular maintenance strategy to avoid a repeat of the flooding incidents which residents have experienced with growing frequency in recent years.
The council's clearance works made the park look much smarter but they also gave the Himalayan Balsam an opportunity to become even more dominant. Invasive plant species such as Himalayan Balsam are a growing problem in this country and are considered a major threat to biodiversity along with climate change and pollution. Himalayan Balsam outcompetes native plants, altering ecosystems and habitats. It clogs up waterways and threatens the survival of weaker plant species as well as causing flooding.
There have now been two community gardening events to clear Himalayan Balsam in Lickey End, with another event planned next spring. Once the Himalayan Balsam is under control, the community hopes to re-establish a stronger variety of native plants along the brook to improve biodiversity.
Councillor Rob Hunter who led the project said: "I was amazed at the turnout and would like to thank everyone who came and helped, it is amazing the difference you can make when you get a group together like this. I would also like to thank my colleagues at Bromsgrove District Council for all their work on the brook and for their support with taking away all the weeds we collected. "
County Councillor Josh Robinson who also helped out on the day added: "It really was a reminder of what a fantastic community we have here in Bromsgrove and Lickey End and I'm really looking forward to getting together again next year. Please look out for details of future events in the local media and Keep Bromsgrove Beautiful social media pages."