Recession provides chance for removal of knotweed

Japanese knotweed firms may be able to make the most of the recession as developers carry out preventative work potentially aided by government tax credits.

The Land Remediation Relief (LRR) under the Finance Bill 2009 - which came into effect on 1 April - allows tax deductions for the cost of treating land contaminated by Japanese knotweed.

Developers can save cash by treating the problem early, according to Cheshire-based Japanese Knotweed Control joint managing director David Layland. He told HW that developers are having work done now because the cost of preventative work is much lower than last-minute clearance when construction contracts are signed.

"Developers can potentially save a fortune by using a stem injection system to clear a site in situ rather than costly off-site removal once the problem has escalated," said Layland.

As of 1 April, bodies liable for corporation tax can claim a 150 per cent deduction on expenditure removing Japanese knotweed.

TCM research and development director Alison Downer said the firm has joined forces with property taxation firm E3 to help advise clients on claiming relief.

Japanese Knotweed Solutions managing director Mike Clough has doubts over how useful the tax credits will be. He said: "Clients will have to pay upfront and claim it back at year-end."

LRR was introduced in 2001 and the Government launched a consultation in 2007 on tax incentives. It acknowledged the damage done by Japanese knotweed, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

- Technical notes are available at www.hmrc.gov.uk

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