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Access Issues Affect Japanese Knotweed Eradication from Fife Thoroughfare

Published on by Dr Paul Beckett

Fife The Courier knotweed

Dr John Emery-Barker with the Japanese Knotweed (reproduced with kind permission of

Japanese knotweed growing along a popular thoroughfare used by walkers and cyclists has raised local fears that it will hinder public access.
The route is the Shore Road on the north shore of the Firth of Forth between Torryburn and Crombie Point in Fife, Scotland.
The local council is understood to be managing the problem with herbicide and is aware that this could take several years if adopted as the only Japanese knotweed eradication methodology. However, as the plants are located on private land, the council is currently unable to explore more effective removal options.
The Shore Road was recently tarmacked. If this was laid over existing knotweed rhizomes, it is highly likely that the road surface will be damaged as new shoots push their way through in the spring and summer.
Community council chairman, Dr John Emery-Barker, is quoted in local newspaper, The Courier, as saying:

“There are signs the Japanese knotweed has gone underneath the road and come up at the other side.”

Richard Smith, the council’s lead officer for biodiversity and natural heritage, highlighted the problem of cross-boundary Japanese knotweed infestations, stating:

“Technically, in this case it’s on private land. It’s not illegal to allow it to grow on private land. It is illegal to cause it to spread or take it somewhere else.”

It’s not clear if the council might explore legal options to encourage landowners to deal with knotweed on their property if it might be affecting the Shore Road. However, it is clear that this problem is set to run for several years to come.

About the author: Dr Paul Beckett

Dr Paul Beckett - picture

Dr Paul Beckett is one of the UK’s leading experts in Japanese knotweed and is a member of the Expert Witness Institute. He regularly provides Japanese knotweed expert witness services. He helped produce the RICS knotweed guidance for surveyors and was integral in the formation of the Property Care Association (PCA) Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG).

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