Farming Today BBC Radio 4

Farming Today This Week: Invasive Species

BBC Radio 4, Farming Today - Available for the next 4 Weeks

Farming Today this week goes Sunningdale in Berkshire to discover Himalayan Balsam and see what two scientists are doing to try and stop its spread. Dr Carol Ellison and her colleague Sonal Vari work for CABI, who are non profit science-based development and information organisation. They are releasing pathogens which are the Himalayan balsalm's natural enemy, and attack the plant without damaging any other flora or fauna around it. Dr Niall Moore is head of the Non-Native Species Secretariat - a government body reporting to Defra he says foreign species are costly for the UK economy, treating their effects is estimated to cost £166 million a year. Many local groups try to pull up and destroy invasive weeds, Lucy Bicketon went out on the River Frome looking for Japanese Knotweed with Neil Green from the Avon Invasive Weeds Forum to find out more about their work. However, it isnt just plants which are a problem, animals such as the Grey squirrel and Signal Cray fish are too. In Scotland, American mink are having a significant impact on the local wildlife population. Nancy Nicholson talked to Anne Marie McMaster who is involved in a programme of culling the mink. Invasive species are an international problem, last week in Turkey, a high level conference took place about the issue, which brought together many European agencies who were concerned about the problem. Dr Helen Roy was in attendance and said that there needs to be a joined up approach in tackling Invasive species.

Presented by Charlotte Smith and produced by Ruth Sanderson.