SUCCESSFUL action against invasive plant species by the Scottish Borders environmental charity, the Tweed Forum, is being highlighted nationally as an example of best practice.

In a new guide commissioned by The Rivers Trust, and funded by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, the Tweed experience will be shared with organisations across the country who are tackling alien plants such as Giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and American skunk cabbage, which have been estimated to cost the British economy an estimated £1.7 billion each year, causing riverbank erosion and increased flood-risk and threatening native biodiversity including destroying spawning and nursery habitat for salmonid fish species.

Tweed Forum’s action has resulted in a vast reduction in the density and abundance of Giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed throughout the catchment and it is now very rare to see either plant species on the main stem of the Tweed. This was achieved with a coordinated, catchment-wide partnership approach to invasive plant species control, from consultation, fundraising and legal and licensing issues, to landowner and volunteer engagement, species control methodology, GPS mapping, planning and monitoring.

Tweed Forum director, Luke Comins, said: “Invasive plant species are notoriously difficult to eradicate but over the years, we have developed an approach that is seeing positive results and is making the prospect of eradication a reality. It relies on the support and cooperation of a range of people and organisations, from funders, landowners and public bodies to volunteers, anglers and members of the public who inform us about sightings of invasive plants so that our teams can take appropriate action. We’re delighted to be able to share our approach with other UK organisations who are tackling these same threats in waterways right across the country.”

The new guide, The Tweed Invasives Project: 18 Years of Catchment-wide Control, can be downloaded from the Tweed Forum website at