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West Norfolk Council drafts in specialist help to tackle plant invasion

Borough council chiefs have been forced to hunt for specialist help after discovering a patch of a highly invasive plant on a site in West Norfolk.

A cluster of Japanese knotweed – a fast-spreading species of weed – has been discovered on land behind a former building yard off Wisbech Road, South Lynn.

It has led to 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.

“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.”

Japanese Knotweed(8421746)
Japanese Knotweed(8421746)

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

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

After this happened, Fenland District Council officials 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 which were discovered on land off Nar Ouse Way in 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, and has the potential to cause serious structural damage to buildings.

Also known as fallopia japonica, the weed dies back to ground level during the winter but can shoot up to more than two metres 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. The plant is also classed as controlled waste in the UK.

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