Saturday, 14 July 2012

Japanese Knotweed on the Causeway Coast 3

Department of the Environment Fiddles While Knotweed Blooms

Japanese Knotweed on the Causeway Coast 1

Japanese Knotweed on the Causeway Coast 2

Alex Attwood MLA, Minister of the Environment: It is widely recognised that invasive alien species, such as Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), are the second biggest threat to biodiversity loss worldwide.

Really? The actions of governance agencies, so far, don't suggest that the DoE is likely to get to grips with this threat any time soon. Does there not need to be a programme of eradication directed and monitored by the DoE with assistance given to individual landowners?

DRD Roads Service June 25

"Last year several locations within the public road boundary, including Isle Road, were treated by an approved competent contractor using an appropriate systemic herbicide. Unfortunately, this type of weed usually requires multiple annual treatments to successfully eliminate re-growth.  I can confirm that further treatments are planned very soon on all known locations within the public road in the Moyle District Council area, with repeat treatments as required. The additional locations in Bushmills .. are on private lands for which Roads Service has no responsibility."

DRD Roads Service July 9

"I am pleased to confirm that our Environmental Maintenance Contractor has been instructed to treat many sites throughout the Ballymoney and Moyle Council areas, including Isle Road. Work is due to commence shortly and we will ensure that Isle Road is actioned early in the programme of work.

The effectiveness of this treatment will be monitored."

DoE NIEA July 2

"Landfill tax credits are administered either directly by Councils or by the Ulster Wildlife Trust on their behalf. In addition Moyle Council have themselves previously applied for NIEA Grant Aid to fund a Local Biodiversity Officer within the council. This funding would not be available to each individual landowner to eradicate knotweed from their own back gardens or for developers to eradicate it from development sites where there is obvious commercial gain. It would be intended for wider catchment scale environmental projects such as community led projects which aim to raise awareness and eradicate knotweed from a wider area." ..

"My advice would be that each site is assessed individually to see what herbicide is best suited, which method of application etc as one solution does not fit all sites. The most important factor is the quality of herbicide used (i.e. quantity of active ingredient) and the conditions in which it is sprayed." ..

"The first year spray will always be the most difficult but in subsequent years the regrowth will be much less vigorous and easier to spray. By year 3 to 4 in most cases the knotweed regrowth does not resemble typical knotweed growth appearing only as a small red twig like shoot with no leaves. It is important these are followed up on to prevent the knotweed from re-establishing.

All of this information has been provided in the training which [has been] provided to councils to help them make informed decisions. Similarly it has been discussed with your local Roads Service staff who intend to assess the options for each site prior to spraying."

DoE NIEA July 5

"The Roads Service have appointed a new professional contractor to spray the areas they have identified on their land. This contractor is different from the previous spraying contractor. From the images supplied I would agree that the regrowth was excessive given the plant had been sprayed which could be down to a range of factors." ..

"NIEA are not in a position to oversee the work of a professional contractor working on behalf of Roads Service as you can hopefully understand. We would only oversee this on the properties we own or manage. I have however spoken to local Roads Service staff at length who are aware of all these issues to ensure that they are built into their spraying requirements to ensure the stands are more effectively sprayed this time. They have also increased awareness amongst their staff and have subsequently identified other areas which they will also be spraying."