When is a knotweed a weed?

The Daily Mail is today reporting “Attack of the super weed hits Olympics” and suggesting that clearing 10 acres of this pesky little plant could cost £70 million.  They go on to say:

Surveyors have discovered that the aggressive weed has taken over 10 acres of the proposed sites for the velodrome and aquatic centre in Stratford.

I wonder how much that surveyor (oh, sorry, surveyors – it took more than one of them!) was being paid to identify it, when someone with the most basic of botanical skills would have known what it is.  And given the suggestion that its presence on the site is some new discovery, just when did it magically appear?

Specialists can charge up to £40,000 to clear only six square yards of ground affected by the weed, which has been called the most invasive plant in Britain.

The logic in the assumption that this means it will be £70m to clear the lot is beyond me.  Answers on a postcard please….

One Comment

  1. I know the area referred to very well and have very strong opinions on the subject! (our beautiful allotments near the future Velodrome, Manor Gardens, were demolished in October 07)
    The areas occupied by Japanese Knotweed were actually tiny, and had been there for many years without noticeably spreading. And I would suggest that a bit of knotweed (popular habitat for grass snakes & amphibians, flowers a useful nectar source for bees) is far less of a menace than the Olympic developers themselves. They destroyed almost all the wildlife habitat in the area, Community Woodland, Nature Reserves, allotments, nearly all the trees – now just bare earth, in order to remodel it into an artificial, sterile park.
    Since Japanese Knotweed has been around in the UK since 1825 you’d expect the whole country to be covered in it if it was as invasive as is claimed. It’s pure propaganda I’m afraid – and a lucrative business.

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