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Japanese Weed Invades Island 22 August 2003

Over the past few years a rapidly spreading invasive weed, "Japanese Knotweed" (Fallopia japonica), has been noted in many locations throughout the Island. A mapping system has been set up and administered by DAFF and trends suggest that the distribution is increasing, particularly along river banks. This plant has blighted many areas of the UK and is a particular problem in South Wales and the South West. It can damage property, smother native wildlife and disfigures the landscape. The government is determined to check it's spread on the Island.

A multi-disciplinary government working group has been set up and after the first meeting in the spring it was agreed that the main objective was to raise public awareness of the potential problems this plant can cause.

"Control of this weed can only be achieved by a concerted effort by landowners and government. It will take some time to bring under control but for the sake of preserving the character and habitats of our rivers and glens it will be worth it",

declared John Rimington, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

An advisory factsheet has been produced and is available from DAFF, DoLGE Planning Office and garden centres. This colour leaflet allows easy identification of the plant and details a list of do's and don'ts in an attempt to reduce the spread of this plant. Spraying in situ is the recommended control. A large patch in Foxdale appears to have been successfully treated, although it will be another year before it is known if all the roots are dead.

The Wildlife Act 1990 makes it an offence to plant this weed or otherwise cause it to grow in the wild. In addition this plant has been added to a list of injurious weeds covered by the Weeds Act (1957) whereby notices can be served on owners/occupiers of land where Knotweed is growing, requiring it to be destroyed with the ultimate sanction of prosecution.

With the co-operation and goodwill of the public, landowners and government it is hoped that the spread of this troublesome invader can be slowed.

Copies of the leaflet and further information can be obtained from Wildlife and Conservation Section of DAFF on 842335 and or picked up from DAFF, Rose House, Circular Road or DoLGE Planning Office, Murray House, Mount Havelock Douglas.

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