Japanese Knotweed Costs British Economy £165M A Year
Japanese knotweed costs the UK economy around £165 million every year, according to research conducted by BBC Country file. Apart from humans, the plant, along with other foreign species such as zebra mussels, mink, grey squirrels, and American crayfish, account for the largest cause of native bio-diversity loss.
Together, these foreign invasive species kill native plants and creatures, costing the UK economy a total of £1.7 billion every year. Japanese knotweed, classed as the most aggressively-spreading foreign weed, was originally brought to the United Kingdom by Victorian botanists to be used it as an ornamental plant.
In order to build the Olympic park in East London for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, it’s reported that £70 million was spent on removing and disposing of Japanese knotweed. Mike Clough, specialist at Japanese Knotweed Removal, said that it is important to tackle the plant issue for councils and private landlords, as it can spread at a rate of over one metre per month. He also noted that there are even cases where mortgages have been turned down because of the plant.
Tackling non-native species must be a priority for the Environment Agency, as they lack natural enemies and pests, said Trevor Reynolds, an invasive species advisor at the Agency. Reynolds added that pests, like bracken and bramble, have evolved over time and now depend on each other to survive. He added that instead of gardening the countryside, we should be looking after it.