Invasive specialists could benefit from removal orders

Firms that control invasive plants could see a business boost after the Government announced plans to fine homeowners up to £2,500 if they fail to follow orders to deal with problem plants.

Invasives: fine for homeowners
Invasives: fine for homeowners

The Home Office has listed Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed in new antisocial guidance for the first time, alongside offences such as drunkenness and intimidation. This means that property owners in residential areas who fail to act on an order to remove the plants could be found guilty of a criminal offence, leading to a maximum fine of £2,500.

The Home Office document states: "These plants threaten native biodiversity by crowding out native species and destabilising river banks. They can also cause damage to forestry, agriculture and infrastructure."

Owner of Japanese Knotweed Solutions and founder of the Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association Mike Clough said: "I can't see the Government issuing fines to people or an antisocial behaviour order even though they say they will do. I don't think they will have the manpower. I don't think the Environment Agency has even fined anyone under existing legislation in the Wildlife & Countryside Act.

"We get three-to-five calls a week from people who have either had mortgages turned down because there is knotweed on the property or they have a neighbour dispute. I would like to think that it will make a difference but I think it's more the Government being seen to be doing something about it."

However, BALI technical director and national training manager for Ground Control Neil Huck, who advised on a recent EU law that bans a list of non-native species and requires member states to take action, was more positive.

He said: "I think it's related to EU legislation, which comes into UK law on 1 January. It's very interesting that the Home Office has got involved. That could have tremendous implications for the industry, people being threatened with fines."

But he said he is concerned that the right companies get any extra work rather than those that are "not set up to deal with the problem".

BALI is exploring the possibility of setting up a specialist group for companies that work in this area.

A new qualification in invasive species control, developed with Lantra, has been sent to the Learning & Skills Agency for approval.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

GroSouth 2017 update

GroSouth 2017 update

First-time and established exhibitors are preparing to showcase products and services at this year's show in West Sussex, Gavin McEwan reports.

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Vine weevil

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Vine weevil

Avoid costly damage by this serious plant pest.

Opinion... Pepper breeders' wealth of knowledge

Opinion... Pepper breeders' wealth of knowledge

Peter Seabrook looks forward to garden centre pepper-tasting weekends.

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles