What Did You Buy That For? March 25, 2020

I recently bought an iPhone 11 Pro.

I couldn’t just buy the iPhone 11 …it had to be the iPhone 11 Pro.

I’m in the process of buying a new car …but it can’t just be the base model …it has to be the one with all the bells and whistles and the numbers and letters after its title.

I seriously cannot buy the basic anything. My brain just will not compute. The car with the ‘S’ on the end with 5 BHP more than the standard model …just has to be better than the ordinary model…

I’m addicted.

We’re all addicted.

This is probably why the planet is fucked.

So why do we do it?

Maybe it’s down to economics? We want new stuff so we buy new stuff. Because we buy new stuff, more new stuff is trotted out to satisfy our cravings …and the wheel just goes round and round.

My new iPhone is no better than my last one. My new car will be no better than the last one …but both of these items have a built-in life span. Apple know that you’re going to want the next new thing …and they know you’ll pay a premium for it.

Car manufacturers must be able to build their cars to last forever …yet they know that they need you to be talking about… and lusting after the next new model …it’s what keeps them going.

All of this is like feeding some huge beast that just gets bigger and hungrier as time goes on.

Surely there must be an end to all this consumerism?…

I decided the way forward was to buy a dog.

This would simplify my life and make me more human and loveable.

But I couldn’t buy just any dog … it had to be a dachshund, a miniature dachshund, a dappled miniature dachshund.




Mike C

JKSL Coronavirus Policy March 18, 2020

In this time of uncertainty, Japanese Knotweed Solutions Limited want to keep our clients and suppliers up to date with our business plan in relation to COVID-19.

Firstly, we want to let you know that it’s business as usual for Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd.

We have implemented a policy to deal with the current outbreak, in line with UK government advice and best practice. While we will be ensuring that, our staff follow the most up-to-date advice (including self-isolation where required), we currently have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the business and no known contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our networks (active JKSL work sites or JKSL staff households).

All our employees, both office and site teams have been and continue to be regularly updated on the situation as it evolves. They are doing everything they can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and contain any potential risk.

Japanese Knotweed Solutions employees are working from home where this is appropriate and we have reduced all face-to-face meetings where we can, as well as organising our office to minimise the potential for transmission of any pathogen within the work environment.

As well as using hand sanitizers and hand washing, our site equipment, tools and vehicles are being disinfected as required and JKSL staff have ready access to the equipment they require to work safely. Furthermore our site staff are trained and experienced in implementing bio-control measures as part of our works. While the challenges presented by COVID-19 are significantly different to working with Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed or working on sites with asbestos-containing materials, JKSL’s considerable past experience in meeting these challenges is very helpful in making a quick transition to working methods adapted to the “new normal” of the potential threat of COVID-19.

As the Japanese knotweed growing season fast approaches, our re-visits teams are being prepared and getting ready to begin the new season of chemical treatments. Many of our sites are un-manned, or are set up so that our working areas can be accessed within minimal contact being necessary, and we are liaising with our clients to meet the government’s requirement to minimise interpersonal contact.

Of course, it helps that we are working outdoors!

If you have any requirements for JKSL’s visits to your site, please feel free to send these through to [email protected] . We are still around 30 days away from the start of our active planning phase, so we suggest that it’s OK to wait until April (even after Easter) to let us know how you plan to manage your sites over summer.

We are working together to get through this and we look forward to coming out on the other side.

Our offices remain open during business hours, with our team available at [email protected] and we anticipate there will be no major changes in our delivery to clients.

Team contacts:
Operations Team / Revisits – 07825374182
New enquiries – 07741 636 915
Accounts Team – 07917 016 884
Surveys – 07795386418

It’s not ‘Normal’…. March 18, 2020

It’s not normal ….it doesn’t happen to everybody …and it is a big deal.

Now all the men out there are feeling uncomfortable…. but I’m not talking about erectile dysfunction – I’m talking about Japanese knotweed removal.

We have recently taken on a new team member at JKSL who has experienced working for another Knotweed removal company.

The company in question specialises in the use of bespoke screening equipment and advertises this as their unique methodology.

Apparently, the system does not work.

The company has had significant re-growth on many of their ‘treated sites’ and have had numerous complaints. The company then states that this is quote – ‘normal’ – and that this – ‘happens to everybody’ ….

Can we please clarify.

Major re-growth on treated sites is not…. NORMAL.


 …and it…. IS A BIG DEAL.

Putting it simply – ‘screening’ of Japanese knotweed is not a guaranteed method of eradication.

In the short-term it will save you money.

But I repeat, it’s NOT guaranteed.

It sounds good, it sounds ‘green’ and it’s a cheaper method of tackling your Knotweed problem than off-site removal ….but as with most things that sound too good to be true….it is too good to be true.

Unfortunately, in this world you do not get something for nothing.

Unfortunately, also – some companies are just full of shit.

Here at Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd – incidentally the first company in the UK and the world to deal with just one plant – we do not offer just one method of Japanese knotweed removal.

We look at your sites, we look at your issues – then we offer the best solution to your problem. We offer the entire range of approved Knotweed removal strategies. We will offer the best method for your particular site’s problems.

If your site has dry, friable soil and the ground is reasonably compact we might just offer a screening option. But….we would tell you there are risks… and the chances of re-growth are high.

If your site is wet muddy and full of clay – we will not be recommending screening.

However, if the company you’re talking to about your Knotweed problem own a screening machine – you can pretty much bet that whatever your site conditions – they will recommend screening.

They have to pay the finance company every month for the machine, so you can damn well bet they’re going to use it.

Don’t be fooled.

Don’t be taken in.

Don’t be the one left with an embarrassing problem.

Do it once.

Do it properly.


Mike C

Amenity Standard March 16, 2020

The Amenity Standard is a mark of trust for the amenity industry, to give members of the public peace of mind that amenity spaces are managed in line with best practice. The Amenity Standard covers contractors who work in parks, green spaces, roads and road verges, railways, airports and other critical infrastructure as well as commercial green spaces like sports pitches and golf courses.

Comparable to the “Red Tractor” in agriculture, the Amenity Standard is a quality mark that covers a variety of different industry accrediting bodies operating across all sectors of amenity, giving the public a single trusted standard to show that best practice is being followed in their amenity spaces.

A successful launch event for the Amenity Standard was held in Scotland with MSP Mairi Gougeon (Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment) giving an excellent keynote speech and speakers from HSE, trade body the Amenity Forum and other industry figures providing further information on the current state of play in the industry.

An upcoming event in Wales later this year will see the standard launched officially in Wales, too.

Contractors are keen to embrace the standard and local authorities and other contracting organisations are already taking steps to include the Amenity Standard in tender and compliance documents. We hope that the public at large will also respond positively to this initiative and the key aims of improving and maintaining public spaces and other amenities in the most responsible way possible.

It is important that those of us in the industry increase the uptake of the message behind the Amenity Standard – which is principally that amenity contractors should be audited on their compliance with legal and best practice compliance for the industry (including our legal obligation to use integrated pest management and minimise the use of pesticides in all cases).

JKSL supports the Amenity Standard and, as a member of both the PCA and the Amenity Assured standard, we are proud that Japanese Knotweed Solutions Limited is now audited to the Amenity Standard.

Chris Oliver
Operations Manager, Japanese Knotweed Solutions


NOTE: Through his work with the Amenity Forum’s Education and Skills Committee, Chris sits on the Operations Committee of the Amenity Standard.

The End of the World March 11, 2020

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

So – how would you like to be remembered?

Well to be honest… it doesn’t really matter… because from what I’m reading .. there will be nobody left alive to remember you anyway. You might as well go out in a blaze of glory then??

You know that car you’ve always wanted… but you can’t afford the monthly payments – this is NO LONGER a problem. Go for it .

You know that girl in accounts that you haven’t asked out because of the whole #metoo movement… you’ve been worried about the repercussions. Go for it.

You know that watch/handbag/leather jacket – you cannot afford. Credit card – go for it.

Your boss – bit of a dick – you’ve always wanted to tell him where to stick his ridiculous attitude.

This is your moment – go for it.

Seriously though – are you going to be the one that said … ‘bloody hell… virus bollox it’s all false news…’ or are you the one sat in a sealed room wearing a full bio hazard suit refusing to eat or drink anything for fear of contamination?

The answer lies somewhere between these two points of view so methinks a degree of common sense needs to be initiated in the old grey cells.

Yes, I’m washing my hands more.

Yes, I’m being aware of people around me who cough or sneeze.

No, I haven’t bulk bought toilet rolls… but I have stocked up on Nurofen and paracetamol.

Yes, I am working from home more…

No I haven’t changed any of my social plans …. yet.

Note –  just a word of caution about all the radical new ideas suggested at the start of this blog.

You might …just might ….get better.


Mike C oronavirus.

Life is a roller coaster baby…. March 4, 2020

There have been a few songs that have picked up on life being like a ‘roller coaster’ and as I get older it just seems a very apt way of describing what life throws at you.

One minute you’re flying high …the next you’re in a deep rut…

In your personal life it can happen over a period of months, years even, but when running a business it can happen in minutes.

You start the day getting a phone call confirming you’ve won an order and everybody is whooping with joy ….then the phone rings again and it’s somebody telling you that your team just hit a service cable and half of Manchester is without power.

Then you get told that power has been restored …whoops of joy again / then they tell you that it’s cost £8000.00 and your insurance doesn’t cover it…down in the dumps.

Then you’re insurer tells you that you are covered ….up again/but your excess is £4000 ….down again.

You get your month-end figures and you’ve smashed your monthly turnover record. You’ve turned-over more in a month than you used to turn over in a year …wow!  Amazing….yes …you’ve turned over huge sums of money but, you’ve actually made £2.58 profit.

These are the joys of business ownership. Unless you have your own company, you will never quite ‘get’ what the experience does to you.

To be quite honest it’s addictive. I think I thrive on the adrenaline that being my own boss provides. I’ve never been good with authority and have often skirted on getting myself in trouble because I could never quite cow-tow to the right people.

I clearly remember being stopped for speeding by a young traffic cop and being told – “you can either apologise  …or you can go in front of the judge…which would you prefer” …I told him to go fuck himself …which in hindsight was maybe not the best move I could have made.

As I’ve got older though I am realising that certain questions require a bit of thought before answering….and maybe I should try not saying the first thing that comes into my head.

Questions to be careful with –

Answer any of these questions without first thinking …and the roller coaster could take a sudden plunge ….

Mike C