Many constituents have been contacting me about floating pennywort, a highly invasive and fast-growing non-native species that is particularly difficult to eradicate. Floating pennywort has historically been a problem in the River Cam and Ely Ouse and present in the Great Ouse river system since 2003. Since then the effort involved in controlling it has steadily increased. It was discovered on the Bedford section of the River Great Ouse in 2014 and in the last two years has grown prolifically establishing a strong foothold in this upper section of the rover and all the way downstream to St Ives.
The Environment Agency has removed thousands of tonnes as part of a coordinated programme of surveying, hand/mechanical removal, and spraying to control its growth. Although they do not have funding specifically set aside for its control, the EA has organised an emergency fund of £30,000 and hopes to begin work imminently.
We will need to work collaboratively with all interested parties to control the presence floating pennywort in the River Great Ouse.