Time to get weeding on Weedon Road says expert, who says Northampton has a knotweed problem

Brian Taylor says Northampton Borough Council needs to revise its strategy for tackling Japanese knotweed, before it has a real problem on its hands.
Brian Taylor says Northampton Borough Council needs to revise its strategy for tackling Japanese knotweed, before it has a real problem on its hands.
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An invasive weed which can grow up to a hectare in size is at risk of taking over in Northampton unless councils act fast, an expert says.

Two years ago the Home Office gave local authorities powers, which allowed them to clamp down on landowners with a Japanese knotweed problem.

The invasive plants spread rapidly, can break apart concrete and destroy building foundations.

Yesterday Lib Dem councilor Brian Markham made calls to get the notorious plant cleared up after he noticed vast swathes of it on a footpath next to the Westone estate during his recent by-election campaign.

And Northamptonshire knotweed expert Brian Taylor is adding his name to the call, saying the borough and county councils need to begin exercising their enforcement powers far more, as he believes the problem to be spreading on both private and public land.

He said; "Two years in, the councils really should have taken these problems on board more, but they are not exercising their powers.

"It's a huge problem, and it is just getting bigger every year."

Aptly titled Weedon Road is among the worst places in town to have a knotweed problem, as is Bedford Road.

Though Mr Taylor, who runs daventry-based The Knotweed Company, says other authorities have a bigger problem - such as Wolverhampton, both the borough and county councils in Northamptonshire are at risk of having a serious issue on their hands if things get worse.

"Wherever it goes it totally dominates the natural environment," said Mr Taylor.

"And there is no limit to how big it can get.

"In some areas of Wales single plants are a hectare in size."

Currently, Northampton Borough Council does not have a specific strategy in place to tackle knotweed in the town, though the authority will refer anyone concerned about the plant growing in their area to Environment Agency guidelines.

The Chron asked the authority whether it should consider putting a strategy in place and a response is expected early next week.