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Fenland campaigner welcomes training plan on knotweed problem

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At last! That was the conclusion of ardent campaigner Alan Lay who has spent the past three years battling to get action on Japanese Knotweed.

Alan Lay with Japanese Knotweed. (5043585)
Alan Lay with Japanese Knotweed. (5043585)

Mr Lay, of Wisbech, has lobbied all local authorities including Fenland District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council in his bid to see the problematic weed wiped-out in our area.

This time last year Fenland Council issued guidelines to residents on how to deal with Japanese Knotweed, which is one of the most invasive plants in the world and can grow through concrete and tar.

Japanese Knotweed can grow through tarmac and concrete. (5043587)
Japanese Knotweed can grow through tarmac and concrete. (5043587)

But Mr Lay did not feel that went far enough and also raised the issue of disposal of any cutting, after discovering there was nowhere people could take their Japanese Knotweed for destruction locally.

Now Mr Lay has hosted a meeting with representatives of Cambridgeshire’s Highways to discuss the issue.

He said: “It has taken a lot of effort but finally we seem to be getting somewhere. It was a very productive meeting at my home. The two representatives were keen to hear what I had to say and seemed to appreciate there is a need for a joined up approach to deal with Japanese Knotweed.

“The plant can cause major damage to roads, bridges and people’s homes, and needs to be properly dealt with.

“A piece of plant the size of a fingernail left on the ground will see the plant shoot up again and what people don’t realise is that whatever plant you can see above ground, there is more than three times as much underground.

“As a result of the meeting I have been assured the highways team are organising a training session for staff and will be inviting district, town and parish council representatives, as well as members of the Middle Level Commissioners, to attend.

“That is great news and hopefully we will finally start to see a concerted, joined up effort, which is what is needed if we are to deal with Japanese Knotweed properly.

“Of course now it’s autumn the plant is starting to die back, but if they do what they say they are going to we may have a better plan for dealing with it when it starts to grow again next spring.”

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