This plant may look pretty, but the damage Himalayan Balsam causes is severe, both in terms of the direct out-competing of native species, but also due to the fact it grows as an obligate annual in our climate, which means the river banks which it infests are completely bare when it dies back come winter so then have nothing to consolidate them and wash out with winter flooding, so filling the downstream areas with sediment. (Quote from Blackdown Hills ANOB wildlife office)
Although Landowners do not have to remove the plant from their own property, Landowners do have an obligation not to let this invasive plant spread to other Landowners properties and there are now powers that Councils have under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, that have recently been used to compel owners to control this invasive weed species.
landowners also have a legal responsibility to control the species under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – which states ‘it is an offence to plant or cause to grow’ the species in the wild.
So what can you do about this problem?
Himalayan Balsam is actually relatively easy to eradicate:
Pulling it up two years in a row before it flowers is normally sufficient.
Please therefore inspect your property, especially if you are by a stream and start the eradication process as soon as you can.