ABSEILERS were once again on the slopes of Beaminster Tunnel – but this time to stop the spread of Himalayan Balsam.

The steep slopes of the entrance to the tunnel will have teams of qualified rope workers pulling out the offending plants. They will also cut back any hazel growth – helping to keep the slopes stable.

The A3066 that runs through the tunnel remained open during the work, but one lane was closed with temporary traffic lights.

Following a fatal landslip in July 2012 abseilers were used to embed soil nails into the slopes. The nails anchor a steel net that retains the soil. The slopes were hydro-seeded with native species of wild flowers which often take time to establish.

The teams, who worked on Monday and Tuesday will be back again in September.

This work will continue for three years to eradicate the plant.

Cllr Rebecca Knox, county councillor for Beaminster said: “I’ve had many enquiries about controlling this plant in the local area. It’s great that the county council will be sending in the specialist team to treat the tunnel’s slopes. Wildflowers and different grasses have been seeded on the slopes and we want them to flourish.

“Many of you have asked if you could get involved in clearing this weed and groups of volunteers are very welcome.”

The county council is organising teams of volunteers to work in the area to help control the spread of Himalayan Balsam.