Harrow under Japanese knotweed attack!

The highly-invasive Japanese knotweed can re-root quickly from a tiny bit of stem. It can come up through tarmac, concrete and even the inside of houses.
If you allow the Japanese knotweed to spread onto someone else’s property, Natural England could serve you with an enforcement notice – the prevention of its spread is a legal obligation for landowners under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.You can also be prosecuted if you allow animals to suffer by eating these weeds.
It is a real pain to get rid of it and the council could help:
  • by mapping the spread of the Japanese knotweed across the borough – community champions could be trained to identify and report the weed – knowing the full extent of the problem will help the council to control and manage the weed
  • if on the private property, by informing the homeowner or landowner that the weed problem needs addressing
  • by having staff trained to inject a specialist treatment into the stem of the weed to kill it

The council has valued our suggestions about how they can help in dealing with the weed problems – following are the extracts from the Biodiversity Officer’s response:

Regarding mapping, the Council has enlisted the help of a specialist invasive species consultant that has now signed an agreement to use our Geographic Information System (GIS). We have sent the consultant the relevant GIS layers so it can give a cost to produce a detailed survey of the borough’s INNS. Once this is complete an invasives GiS layer will be created and subsequently a management plan. We are also working with the London Invasive Species Initiative (LISI), the Brent Catchment Partnership and the Crane Valley Partnership and will be feeding our findings into their work programmes so we can coordinate work across the region.
There is no reason why community champions cannot be trained to help identify and report invasive species – this would not only add to our developing database but help gauge full extent of the problem and help keep pace with the changes in populations of INNS thus facilitating control and management.
Certification in use of pesticides and advice:
The Council offers advice to private landowners when contacted, however, it is only responsible for Japanese knotweed on its own land, we keep a register and undertake treatment to control/eradicate invasive species and have staff and volunteers certified in the application of herbicide.