Optimis have tackled invasive plant species that are taking over watercourses in the River Thame Catchment

Optimis joined the River Thame Conservation Trust in its battle against the aggressive non-native plants, which are driving out native species with disastrous consequences for the countryside.

On 1st July, River Thame Conservation Trust were joined by the team at Optimis to control Himalayan Balsam on the banks of the Bear Brook in Aylesbury. Himalayan Balsam was introduced by Victorian botanists from the Himalayas and Taiwan because they thought it was exotic and pretty. However, the plants couldn’t be contained and were first recorded in the wild in the mid 1800s, spreading far and wide ever since.

Across the world, the spread of non-native species is the second biggest cause of biodiversity loss. The Thame catchment has managed to stay relatively free of balsam but more recently it has started to take hold in a few areas particularly watercourses in the Aylesbury area. Justin Wickersham, Managing Director at Optimis said: “we were delighted to volunteer our time to this worthy cause. As planning and development consultants we experience at first hand the importance of working with organisations to help manage and shape our natural environment to ensure no net loss in biodiversity and importantly delivering biodiversity net gains which is a crucial strand of sustainable development. We strongly believe that as a business we can play an important part in raising awareness and working with communities and organisations, and give some of our time to secure gains on the ground and halt invasive species that threaten biodiversity.

If you would like further information, please visit www.riverthame.org/get-involved/volunteering/balsam-bashing/

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