Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Helicopter drones do battle with alien plant invaders across Northern Ireland

Helicopter drones are being used to detect alien invasive plants colonising riverbanks across Northern Ireland.

It's part of a drive led by Queen's University Belfast to clean up waterways in Ireland and Scotland threatened by invasive species, with the hope of restoring millions of pounds in lost tourism revenue.

Covering 21 river catchment areas in Ireland and Scotland, the initiative, called CIRB, is the largest of its kind in Europe and is aimed at clearing aggressive, non-native weeds such as giant hogweed from riverbanks.

Using the latest technology – including four helicopter drones equipped to take aerial photography – CIRB has eradicated 70% of Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam, giant hogweed and rhododendron since 2010.

Invasive species are estimated to cost the Northern Ireland economy £47m each year in damage to infrastructure, fisheries, agriculture and forestry.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz