Cash to combat silent killer at Surrey beauty spot

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Crassula at Silent Pool (Leo Jennings SWT)
Image caption,
Crassula helmsii overwhelms native plant life, threatening wildlife habitats

Conservationists in Surrey have received a valuable boost in their fight against a deadly invader at a beauty spot near Guildford.

Silent Pool, near Albury, has been invaded by an aquatic plant, which is threatening native species.

Surrey Wildlife Trust has received a grant of nearly £50,000 to help clear the Crassula helmsii from its ponds.

Ranger Leo Jennings said: "The invasive nature of Crassula helmsii is threatening its beauty and wildlife."

The cash has come from Biffaward, a wildlife fund formed from landfill tax credits received by waste management firm Biffa Waste Services.

Choking vegetation

The trust says the money will enable its members and volunteers to kill off the plant with herbicides, reintroduce native plants to attract back lost or threatened species and install pre-planted floating mats to provide breeding birds with a refuge.

Crassula, which was introduced to Britain for aquaria, forms dense, choking vegetation that overwhelms native plantlife, radically changing the biodiversity of the area.

Silent Pool, which is in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is itself a designated area of conservation importance.

Mr Jennings said: "We look forward to seeing the ponds teeming with newts, which depend on a good balance of native plants upon which to lay their eggs."

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