Wish You Weren’t Here……

Author: Mike Clough

Date Posted: Wednesday 26th August 2020

“Japanese knotweed – I wish you weren’t here”, is an easy enough statement to make… but actually doing something about it takes a little more focus.

It is said that at a moment in time about thirty or so years ago, there was a movement afoot within the Environment Agency (EA) where there was a suggestion that Japanese knotweed should be tackled ….as it was in danger of becoming ‘problematic’.

At that particular moment the member of the team that had raised this point was told that budgets were being stretched and there was ‘no available funding’ to deal with what was only a ‘minor’ problem.

Now at this point in time it is also said that Japanese knotweed could have been… eradicated.

Yes – eradicated.

The EA could have tackled the beast and kicked it from our shores forever.

Infestations were limited, they were ‘manageable’ and could have been targeted and removed before their unstoppable march for global domination began.

This opportunity was missed and history will show that this was a serious error in judgement.

Japanese knotweed blocks watercourses, reduces capacity of water channels and increases flood risk, it damages property, it reduces land value, it grows to the preclusion of all of our native species, it blights huge areas of development land, it reduces the amenity value of our open spaces, it encourages rat populations…the list just goes on and on.

The removal of the plant costs local authorities, developers and home owners hundreds of thousands of pounds a year and causes stress and upset to the people on which it impacts.

Maybe lessons could be learned.

Maybe lessons for each of us individually – spotting a new infestation of knotweed and dealing with it promptly won’t save the entire planet ….but maybe it will at least save a small piece of land that would otherwise be overrun by this invasive monster of a plant.

A small infestation is a damn site easier to deal with than a mature stand of this plant.

Open your eyes.

Take note of what’s happening in your immediate environment.

Do something about it.


Mike C


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Mike Clough

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