Minister urges Oulton Broad sailors to join fight against invasive species

Defra Minister Lord Gardiner visits Oulton Broad sailing club to urge sailors to "check,clean and dr

Defra Minister Lord Gardiner visits Oulton Broad sailing club to urge sailors to "check,clean and dry" Lord Gardiner with Hywel-Finden-Browne (training officer) and Elysia Scully (racing officer) - Credit: Nick Butcher

The Defra minister has called upon sailors to help protect waters and guard against the spread of invasive species by doing a simple check, clean and dry of their equipment and clothing.

Biosecurity Minister Lord Gardiner met with student sailors from the University of East Anglia at Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club to see their work on the Check, Clean, Dry campaign.

Lord Gardiner said: 'Invasive species threaten the survival of our country's native plants and animals and cost the economy at least £1.8 billion a year.

'Watersports enthusiasts play a key role in our battle against these threats, so it is great to see Norfolk and Suffolk sailors promoting how important it is to check, clean and dry clothing and equipment.

'Simple steps such as hosing down your boat and thoroughly drying your boots help to protect the future of our native species in an environment we want to enhance.'

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Lord Gardiner's visit comes as part of a wider push by government to promote Invasive Species Week - an annual awareness-raising campaign organised by Defra and the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) to get people thinking about simple steps they can take to stop the spread of invasive species which threaten Britain's plants and animals.

For water sports enthusiasts, invasive aquatic species like floating pennywort and water primrose block up waterways, making navigation and paddling difficult and damaging boat engines and props. Many, such as the quagga mussel, can attach themselves to the hull of a boat, and others can be spread from tiny fragments and survive out of water for over two weeks in damp conditions.

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During his trip to the Broads, the minister also visited Suffolk Wildlife Trust to hear how they and the Norfolk Mink Project are successfully reducing mink numbers and improving water vole and ground-nesting bird populations.

Earlier this week, Lord Gardiner launched the new Asian hornet watch app, which enables people to become expert pest hunters using their smartphones.

Invasive Species Week 2017 continues until April 2.

Email to request a free check, clean and dry kit from The Green Blue.

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