What a Mess

Author: Mike Clough

Date Posted: Wednesday 9th August 2023

Those of you that follow this blog will be aware that I’ve been banned for speeding and am currently ‘enjoying’ a break from driving.

My life is now organised around drivers, work friends and professionals picking me up and dropping me off at various appointments.

This week for a change I decided to try …public transport.

I’ve got to be honest and say this was a bit traumatic for me, mixing with the general population, sitting on seats that looked in need of a damn good cleaning and a dose of disinfectant.

However, the other users were not my greatest disappointment of this experience, it was the state of the trackside vegetation that caused me the discomfort.

We all know that invasive species have always thrived on railway lines. We know that rosebay willow herb has spread along the routes of our trains since being brought over by bombers on World War 2 and thriving on tracks where fires had been started by the steam trains, we know that Japanese knotweed was planted on unstable ballast to hold embankments together …and we know that Himalayan balsam will spread quickly along linear corridors …

…but I guess what was a shock …was just how bad this particular journey would be from an invasive species point of view.

From Glossop to Manchester there were no other plant species in any sort of dominance other than:

Japanese knotweed
Himalayan balsam
Rosebay willow herb
Giant hogweed

Solid invasive species for 25 miles.

My shock was compounded by the fact that this will only ever get worse.

There is no way anybody will ever budget to remove these species.

There is no way that anyone will ever restore these areas to native species.

…and to be honest …it just looks a mess.

Nobody’s bothered, nobody cares …it will not be on anybody’s ‘to do’ list and the budgets will never stretch to sorting this out.

I’m a professional, I work in this industry …but most of all…. I’m a human being living on planet earth hoping that somebody will stand up for native species and just care about our environment enough to put some eradication and control measures in place.

Won’t happen.

Mike C

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Mike Clough

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