Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) was introduced to the UK as an ornamental plant in the mid nineteenth century.
The Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000 has updated parts of the Wildlife and Countryside Act with regard to offences committed under Section 14. A Magistrates court can impose a maximum penalty of £5000 and a maximum of six months in prison, whereas a Crown Court can impose an unlimited fine and a maximum of two years in prison.
In the UK there are several invasive species which have implications for developers. They are often species which were brought in from other countries with good intentions, but which have been more successful than the natives. A few examples are listed below.
Japanese Knotweed is a clump forming perennial weed typically found growing on riverbanks, roadsides, derelict wasteland and areas of disturbed soil. Its root system is extremely vigorous and can cause structural damage. It can penetrate hard surfaces such as tarmac and has been known to penetrate through the foundations of houses. It often overtakes and replaces the native flora.
Under Section 14 (2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) it is illegal to spread Japanese Knotweed, which has important implications for you and your contractors when undertaking work on sites where it is present.
Potential development/working sites should be inspected for Japanese Knotweed at the earliest opportunity in order to inform design decisions and build project strategies to avoid possible enforcement action and to lead to the most appropriate, effective and cost-efficient knotweed strategy for the location.
American Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) are much larger and more aggresive than the UK's native White Clawed Crayfish. The signal crayfish out competes the white clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), and eats everything in sight. Including vegetation, fish eggs and insect larvae. The signal crayfish also carries a fungus which is fatal to our native white clawed crayfish. The American signal crayfish also burrows deep into river banks destroying the structure of the river itself. They were originally brought in as a food species in the 1970's but managed to get into the waterways and do immeasurable damage.
American Mink (Mustela vison) was initially brought to the UK in the 1920's and bred for fur. Inevitably some escaped and animal rights activists also proudly released many back into freedom. Ironically killing many of the native animals who could not cope with such a voracious predator. The mink feeds on fish, ground nesting birds and waterfowl and water vole.
For further information on invasive species, and what you can do about them please get in touch.