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Patrick Horsley, Director,
Invasive Vegetation Management & Treatment Ltd
As a leading business for the eradication of Japanese you need space and you need an area not designated
knotweed, we are aware of the construction industry for future development
requirements to successfully treat knotweed at a rate
There are root barriers available which are designed to
that is compatible with program constraints throughout
stop the spread and will eradicate the plant in the
the year, including the dormant winter period. The
longer term
professionals involved with the built environment hold
knowledge that there are a few market options to treat
In the last few years, screening out the rhizomes has
and kill Japanese knotweed in a single growing season,
been introduced
including our own F.A.S.T (Foliage and Stem Treatment) We have observed a number of market options to design
System which is now established, and such herbicidal alternative treatments which do not delay development
treatments are clearly the most economic to the end user. program. These options, which include rapid insitu
The Government emphasis and intent to reduce carbon
treatment, have minimal risk and can be conducted at
footprint has had a severe impact on the cost to remove
around 25% of the cost to tip.
the problem by way of excavation and transport to tip. Japanese knotweed is a most invasive and pernicious weed,
The tax levied by HM Customs and Excise is now prohibitive it is also a very clever plant which needs professional
and the ability to apply for contaminated landfill tax respect if you want to avoid re-growth and guarantee your
exemption has ceased. To offset this penalty, Japanese actions.
knotweed was included in the 2009 Finance Bill for 150%
After extensive research, methods have been developed
tax relief against the cost of treatment only, but there are
for neutralising the growth of Japanese knotweed within
exceptions and not all sectors can realise the benefit. It is
the soils matrix. The writer has been involved with various
easy to understand the Government policy, we cannot
treatment protocols for over 16 years. Observations have
indefinitely create massive landfill sites simply moving
shown results which have led to develop rapid integrated
the problem from point A to point B. The number of landfill
treatment. Japanese knotweed rhizomes will not propagate
sites capable of receiving Japanese knotweed is reducing
easily when below a certain length and diameter; with the
and the distance to travel from source to tip involves
correct dosages of approved herbicide formulae applied
unnecessary lorry movements, sometimes at excessive
directly onto the rhizome, growth can be neutralised.
distances. Using Environment Agency guidelines, a single
stand of Japanese knotweed calculates out at up to 18
The solution which allows treatment even in the winter
lorry transport movements.
months combines an understanding of the plant physiology
with experience on historical eradication.
The construction industry needs to understand that forward
thinking and planning is needed. In the majority of instances
It is not an overnight solution as each process cycle allows
Japanese knotweed is recognised at an early stage and it
for approx 8m³ per 20 minute treatment but once treated
is now common to see it noted on intrusive site investigation
development can proceed unhindered.
reports as an integral part of the planning process. In simple terms a controlled excavation of the impacted
The simple rules are that any development that permits a
area takes place to remove the plants and rhizomes. The
program for eradication in a full growing season can have
excavated material is transferred into the treatment plant
the plants killed at a cost circa 10% of the cost to tip. Any
to reduce the rhizome mass to a none viable re-growth
development that requires immediate excavation and
size with a simultaneous application of approved herbicide
removal to tip will suffer severe and unnecessary financial
during the treatment cycle. The treated material is set
aside or can be returned to the previously excavated pit.
This is just one example of the forward thinking being
Is There an Alternative Solution?
applied. There is no doubt that invasive weed specialists
will continue to field test innovative ideas to eradicate the
Industry is not slow to spot an opportunity and a few
problem within acceptable timescales in the ensuing
innovative ideas are now offered
years but with purposeful forward planning there are
On site cell burial is available; in our view it is expensive,
products and services available now and which work.
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