£10k grant funds action to clear park knotweed
JAPANESE knotweed is so thick in a Pontarddulais Park there is thought to be an old car underneath it.
But contractors are now due to start work removing the invasive weed, after the Friends of Coedbach Park received a £10,000 grant from the Welsh Assembly over the summer.
The Friends are also hoping to implement further improve- ments to the park as part of the project.
But first they have to address the problem of the knotweed, which grows around the edge and in clumps around the park.
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Friends secretary Christine Thomas said the knotweed was so dense in places it was believed to hide the remains of an old rusted car, which she said would be removed from the park as soon as access was made possible.
"Japanese knotweed is such an invasive species that if it is not controlled it just takes over, killing all the native species of plants, and so it is essential that we get rid of it from our park," said Ms Thomas.
"With council budgets being slashed, we know it is difficult to find money, which is why the grant is so welcome.
"We are lucky the town council has also made a donation of £250, which has enabled us to employ consultants to carry out an eco-survey, to established the extent of knotweed in the park.
"It is a horrendous problem. Children sometimes break pieces off and drop them, and then they regenerate and we have another clump.
"It is a big project, which all in will take us over the next three years. And we are ready to start, but we need a break in the rain of about 12 hours, so contractors can get in there and start spraying, cutting and injecting.
"We know it is going to be a battle to get rid of the knotweed completely, but this grant is going to make a big difference to the park, which is a much valued and essential community asset."
The work follows efforts made by the Friends over the past two years to improve Coedbach Park, including planting bee-friendly flowers, a new hedgerow and laying woodchip paths through the woodland area. They have been supported by groups including Keep Wales Tidy, Environment Wales, the Wood- land Trust and Swansea Council.
The group welcomes new volunteers and meets on the last Thursday of the month at 7.30pm in Pontarddulais Cricket Club.