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Day of the Japanese knotweed - Highly invasive plant discovered on former building yard

PUBLISHED: 16:45 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:49 10 April 2019

Part of the former Wagg Jex site off Harding's Way, in King's Lynn, where Japanese giant knotweed has been found  Picture: Chris Bishop

Part of the former Wagg Jex site off Harding's Way, in King's Lynn, where Japanese giant knotweed has been found Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A council has been forced to hunt for specialist help after discovering a patch of a highly invasive plant.

Japanese knotweed plants have been found in King's Lynn. Picture: West Norfolk CouncilJapanese knotweed plants have been found in King's Lynn. Picture: West Norfolk Council

A cluster of Japanese knotweed - a fast-spreading species of weed - has been discovered behind a former building yard off Wisbech Road in King’s Lynn.

It has led to King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council putting out a tender for specialist help to treat the plants before an outbreak can occur.

The council is preparing to spend up to £25,000 on treating the weed, which numbers among Britain’s most invasive plants.

A spokesman for the council said: “A small area of bramble waste seems to contain some cut knotweed, which we need to remove to ensure it does not spread.

Japanese knotweed plants found in King's Lynn. Picture: West Norfolk CouncilJapanese knotweed plants found in King's Lynn. Picture: West Norfolk Council

“There is also a plant adjacent to a concrete slab which will also be removed to ensure the full extent of the knotweed is removed.

“It was discovered in November and a specialist survey report was commissioned to identify how it would need to be dealt with.”

The contract on offer would pay between £10,000 and £25,000 for a month of work, which is hoped to begin on Monday, April 29.

It comes almost exactly a year after the weed was discovered nearby in both Wisbech and Whittlesey.

Japanese knotweed plants have been found in King's Lynn. Picture: West Norfolk CouncilJapanese knotweed plants have been found in King's Lynn. Picture: West Norfolk Council

After this happened, Fenland Council drafted in a contractor to start a two-year treatment programme to remove the weed from five council-owned sites.

It is also not the first time West Norfolk Council has been required to tackle the plants in this area.

Between July and September 2017, the council needed to take remedial action against two areas of Japanese knotweed on land off Nar Ouse Way in King’s Lynn, close to the site of the current invasion.

Although at first glance Japanese knotweed may seem to be a relatively harmless plant, it can grow through brickwork and concrete and into drains, causing serious structural damage.

Japanese knotweed plants have been found in King's Lynn. Picture: West Norfolk CouncilJapanese knotweed plants have been found in King's Lynn. Picture: West Norfolk Council

Also known as fallopia japonica, the weed dies back to ground level during the winter but can shoot up to more than 2m in height during the summer.

It was introduced to Britain in the 1800s and used as an ornamental garden plant but is now illegal to plant.

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