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Works commence to remove invasive plant from canal

16 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Parrot’s Feather Control at Pembrey Canal

A council has commenced work to manage and control invasive Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) which has been found along a popular canal.

This project at Pembrey Canal is being carried out by Carmarthenshire County Council to not only address the ecological impact of the plant but to also consider the unique challenges posed by the canal’s location alongside a popular active travel route


Parrot’s Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) is native to Central and South America and has been grown in water gardens in the UK since 1878.

It is an aquatic perennial plant with blue-green leaves which has both emergent and submerged forms. Originally a plant of garden ponds, it is now classed as an invasive of critical risk and was banned from sale after April 2014. It is widespread in England and Wales.

During the process of removing the Parrot’s Feather, careful consideration is given to the presence of a healthy population of Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius), a protected species under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

The banks of the canal, which are used by water voles, are being avoided by specialist contractors and the work is being undertaken outside of the bird nesting season.

The experienced contractors have started the work of skilfully navigating a raked digger bucket through the canal to collect and lift out the Parrot’s Feather. The plant material, including roots, is then carefully deposited in suitable location, lined with teram liner to prevent any potential regrowth.

The considerable amount of the plant removed in two small stretches of the canal marks a significant step in controlling the Parrot’s Feather, however the Council will continue to monitor and address any potential resurgence of the plant.

Further locations

With the bulk of the plant removed, officers will be able to more easily manage any regrowth identified next year and adopt the method of its removal at other locations.

The removal of the Parrot’s Feather plant from Pembrey Canal has been funded by the Welsh Government’s Local Places for Nature biodiversity initiative, whilst the proposed method of control has been consulted upon and approved by Natural Resources Wales.

These proactive conservation steps align with the County Council’s third well-being objective, which aim to enable communities and environment to be healthy, safe and prosperous.

Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability – Cllr Aled Vaughan Owen said: “Working with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government, we are pleased to be able to commence the important work of returning Pembrey Canal to a condition which will allow the canal’s biodiversity to improve.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago

What a lovely place, thanks for the photo…keep up the good work, dammed parrots !

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
4 months ago

Did not realise there was a canal from Burry Port, through Pembrey to Kidwelly. Learn something everyday on Nation.Cymru.

4 months ago

Penbre is the native spelling of pembrey which sounds like some rich estate in Surrey

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
4 months ago

I wish people would stop referring to plants and animals as ‘invasive’.

Invasive implies that these plants and animals came here of their own accord when in fact they were brought in by humans – very often wealthy owners of country estates who brought in non-native species because they thought they looked pretty.

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