INVASIVE plants known for dominating native species and raising the risk of flooding have been removed from a river bank by volunteers.

A team worked hard to remove the troublesome Himalayan balsam, which was flourishing along the Roman River, near Colchester.

The Environment Agency says the invasive non-native species poses a big risk to the environment as it out-competes native plant species for nutrients, light and space.

It can also enter the river channel, blocking the flow and increasing the risk of flooding.

Officers from the Environment Agency and Defence Infrastructure Organisation volunteered to give up their time to carry out the work.

The species is known to mainly grow along river banks and in damp woodland.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We removed the Balsam that had re-grown at a site which was cleared two years ago.

“We also cleared patches in or directly adjacent to the river, limiting the chance of seeds entering the watercourse and spreading the plant.”

“It became apparent that Himalayan Balsam is more prevalent in the area than first thought, however, by targeting specific sites posing most risk, we can help limit its spread.

“As we hand-pulled the plant, taking the roots with it, and left it in piles, it shouldn’t re-grow; however we will be making checks in the next few months.”

The spokesman warned members of the public to only attempt to remove the plant if it has not set seed. Touching the Balsam once it has set seed will cause the seeds to spread.

Members of the public can report sightings of the plant on i-Record at