Knotweed removal market erupts

Japanese Knotweed market convulses as 'ASBO law' is widened to further cover invasive species.

Knotweed: situation worsens - image: HW
Knotweed: situation worsens - image: HW

The market for Japanese Knotweed removal is exploding after the Government extended the "ASBO law" to cover invasive species, Japanese Knotweed Solutions managing director and Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA) chairman Mike Clough has said.

But he warns this is attracting "less reputable organisations".

Clough said he was seeing "a plethora of new companies coming into the market", adding: "People see it as a good new income stream. That's something people should be aware of and it will push people more towards trade bodies like the INNSA."

He said some surveyors "were all in a panic" following reporting of the new law: "We've had one job from a surveyor the other week where there was no suggestion of Japanese Knotweed on the site but the sale of the property wouldn't go through until we proved there wasn't any there. Now I'm spending a lot of my time calming people down. In 2015 it's going to have a bigger impact on the mortgage market. People will suddenly realise it's going to be a problem."

The new powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act allow the police or a local authority to issue a Community Protection Notice (CPN) to landowners who have knotweed on their land and refuse to deal with it. CPNs are designed to curb the behaviour of people who are acting unreasonably or in a way that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. Fines for failing to comply with CPNs start fairly low but go up to £2,500 for individuals or £20,000 for organisations.

INNSA warned: "An already saturated market that is being joined by new and less reputable organisations and associated organisations on a daily basis this; is a dangerous situation that is rife for exploitation.

"We question the use of already stretched resources to identify and manage disputes over Invasive vegetation, especially as this can be an issue which can take many years to manifest and equally as long to eradicate.

"The UK has no plan to tackle invasive species, but an ever-increasing legislation to punish those unlucky enough to have it on their land."

Japanese Knotweed Solutions is holding a seminar on 20 May.

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