Airport volunteers give Balsam a 'bashing' on Rams Island

3 Jul 2016

The weather wasn’t great on Saturday, but that didn’t stop a group of #TeamBIA volunteers taking a trip to RAMS Island to participate in a Balsam Bash.

 Ram's Island is located not far from Belfast International Airport, approximately one mile offshore from Lennymore Bay and Sandy Bay on the Eastern Shore of Lough Neagh. 

Himalayan Balsam is an annual and grows fresh each year from last years seeds germinating in March/April. It grows up to 2.5 metres high flowering in July and produces over 1000 seeds in Sept/October from each plant. The seeds can be waterborne and have spread all around the Lough. 

While the Himalayan Balsam is an attractive plant, with its pretty pink flowers, it is not native to Rams Island.

This invasive species, a menace to the natural habitat on Rams Island, has been described as ‘Busy Lizzie on steroids’ and, as such, it is an ongoing battle to remove it to allow the natural habitat of the island to grow. Areas cleared are then re-planted.

So on Saturday, #TeamBIA together with groups from other companies, took part in a ‘Balsam Bash’. While the Balsam spreads quickly, the good news for our volunteers is that it was easily removed. 

Rod Haskins, Operations & Security Manager at Belfast International Airport, said “It certainly was a hard day’s physical work, but as part of the community near to the airport, it is one which our employees love to help at. We had great craic and it was satisfying to see the area we had cleared. Most of our volunteers agreed a return visit is on the cards!”


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