VOLUNTEERS from the country’s biggest electricity company became power rangers for the day to support the conservation work of the Essex Wildlife Trust.
UK Power Networks’ Customer Engagement team spent an afternoon at Stanford-le-Hope to assist rangers at Thurrock Thameside Nature Park with a growing problem.
A total of 15 staff from the power firm were tasked with helping remove Goat’s Rue, a deceptively attractive flowering weed, which, when left unchecked, can overwhelm the natural habitat.
The team donned gardening wear to help pull out the weeds around one of the region’s most important nature conservation areas which was originally created on the rubble removed from London streets when they were rebuilt after the second world war.
Matthew McGettigan, the ranger at Thurrock Thameside Nature Park for the Wildlife Trust, said: “As an organisation, we are very reliant on volunteers to help us with our work. They are essential to us and play an important role with labour intensive jobs.
“Managing the goat’s rue plant has become a never-ending task for us, but it can be kept under control with the right amount of manpower and that is what UK Power Networks provided us with on the day.
“Goat’s rue is a very invasive plant, it’s gone bananas in recent years here, and if we don’t hold it back and control it will outcompete the other plants in the meadow which would leave animals short of food as it flowers at the wrong time of year.”
Jennifer Backstrom, lead sustainability adviser at UK Power Networks, said: “We already have a strong partnership with the Essex Wildlife Trust and it was a natural choice for us to volunteer with them.
“We all enjoyed the time we spent there as a team. It is a beautiful location and while we cannot promise we got all the goat’s rue, there was significantly less of it at the end than there was when we started so we did our bit to protect a special habitat.”
UK Power Networks, which delivers the electricity supplies to homes and businesses across the East, South East and London, gives staff two days paid leave each year to volunteer or fund raise in their local community. The company has a partnership with nine Wildlife Trusts across the areas it serves.