A group of volunteers will be working to clear a destructive species of plant near a Bolton thanks to a grant of £7,000

Himalayan balsam, a non-native species, outcompetes native plants on riverbanks, reducing biodiversity.

Volunteers will remove the plant  from the River Irwell.

The volunteers include John Frazer from the Bradshaw Brook Fly Fishing group, who said he noticed the invasive species around Bolton while fishing.

John and the rest of the volunteers started the project last autumn and have now been given a grant by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to eradicate the plant both in Bradshaw and to other areas.

He said: “I fish all over the North West and find that the Irwell catchment is the worst for Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and hogweed.

“I can see the stark difference between areas and what can happen if you do not take action.”

The Bolton News: Volunteers at Bradshaw Brook

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive plant that takes over other plants and riverbanks, leaving no room for anything else.

No insects eat it, and it grows rapidly like Japanese knotweed, shooting seeds into rivers which can then travel further.

Cllr James Moller for the Bradshaw ward said: “It's great that we are looking out for this plant and keeping it under control where we can.

“'I, myself have noticed the Himalayan Balsam plant popping up around the Bolton area. This invasive plant needs to be dealt with.”

John has been trained to apply herbicide and stem injections to remove invasive plants after an initial £5k grant was given to the group by the Angling Trust.

He said: “I am retired and have the time now.

“I have done a lot of fishing all my life so I could put something back into the environment.

The Bolton News: Volunteers at Bradshaw Brook

“In many places we have achieved 90 percent success in areas we have treated.

It’s looking promising so Greater Manchester Combined Authority have given us a £7k grant to continue our work in Bolton.”

The volunteers have permission from Bolton Council to attend to the areas in Bradshaw Brook.

John said: “What we are doing is unique in the River Irwell catchment area, I have not seen anyone else tackle the problem here.”

The volunteers offer landowners free of charge removal service in Bolton in order to help get rid of invasive plants.