Japanese knotweed conference planned by property body

National trade body the Property Care Association (PCA) is holding a specialised conference, dedicated to the subject of non-native invasive plants.

'Understanding Invasive Weeds: Japanese Knotweed, Fact and Fiction' takes place on 23 September at The Vale Resort, Hensol, Cardiff.

It is the first conference held by the PCA's specialist Invasive Weed Control Group and is being facilitated by Richard Newis, Ashfield Japanese Knotweed (chair), Ian Graham, Complete Weed Control and Professor Max Wade, AECOM.

As well as seeking to promote a "level-headed and evidence based approach" to Japanese Knotweed, there will be a focus on other invasive weeds such as Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed, which are increasingly under scrutiny in the UK, following the issue of new EU regulations, which came into effect in January.

These new regulations will enable government agencies to issue Control Orders that necessitate the management of high risk invasive weed species from specified sites, potentially including housing construction projects and neighbouring properties.

The conference is of interest to a wide-range of professionals, reflecting the impact invasive weeds have throughout the UK.

PCA chief executive Stephen Hodgson said: "The overarching purpose of this first conference is to provide delegates with the information they need to effectively deal with the issues associated with Japanese Knotweed.

"It will appeal to a diverse group, from landowners and land managers, to landlords, councils and those who have responsibilities involving the control and presence of Japanese Knotweed.

"With this broad base of attendees in mind, the content of the day is designed to accommodate the needs of those with relatively little awareness of the species and its impact, as well as those who have a good knowledge but are looking for well-presented, up-to-date facts about the solutions for dealing with the problems associated with Japanese Knotweed as seen from a number of differing perspectives.

"Misinformation is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving effective management of Japanese Knotweed within the UK.

"For the first time assembled experts from the industry will be available to present well researched, actionable information in a format that is genuinely useful to the attendees."

In 2012, The Property Care Association – which has been in formation for 85 years - worked with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) - supported by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and The Building Societies Association - together with Japanese Knotweed control companies that currently operate within the UK, to set up the Invasive Weed Control Group, to signpost consumers to professional treatment companies.

Hodgson added: "For several years now we have taken steps to control Japanese Knotweed. It is just a plant and we are taking all steps necessary to 'normalise' it, so it is viewed generally as any other type of property problem, in that it can be identified and treated, with minimal impact.

"Increasingly, our focus will now include adopting this approach to other invasive weeds, in line with the requirements of the new EU regulations. This conference will provide an excellent opportunity to find out more about the subject."

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