International Invasive Weed Conference 2018


Session Chairs

Robert Mitchell

Director, Conservation Land Services Ltd

Chair for Session 1: Identification

Robert is Director of Conservation Land Services Ltd, and a member of the PCA Invasive Weed Control Group. The main focus of their work tends to be on the commercial side, working with large scale housing developers, with whom Robert has developed invasive weed talks and advice sheets for site managers. Robert is very keen to promote a wider awareness and approach to invasive weeds, such as Buddleia and Giant Hogweed, not just Japanese Knotweed and bio-security controls. In a previous life Robert was involved in ecology and protected species work as well as having been a prison chaplain!


Trevor Renals

Senior Technical Advisor, Invasive Species, Environment Agency

Chair for Session 2: Assessment

Trevor Renals has worked in invasive species management for over 25 years. He was the author of the Japanese knotweed code of practice and pioneered the use of local action groups to manage invasive non-native species. Trevor is the national technical lead for invasive species management at the Environment Agency and fulfils a number of national roles, including participating on the GB biocontrol steering group and coordinating the eradication of water primrose in the UK.


Dr Richard Shaw

Regional Coordinator, CABI

Chair for Session 3: Response

Dr Richard Shaw is Regional Coordinator for CABI’s invasive species activities for Europe and the Americas, as well as being Country Director for CABI’s UK Centre in Egham. Richard has worked on the biological control of mainly weeds for CABI for 24 years and is an experienced applied entomologist, having carried out fieldwork in more than 20 countries. He currently oversees a team of researchers working on weeds that could have an impact on aquatic and Riparian systems in the UK including Japanese knotweed – which he has been studying since the last century!




Rachel Naden

Invasive Non-Native Species and Biosecurity Advisor, Yorkshire Water

“Horizon Scanning: Identifying the water industry’s worst weeds”

Rachel graduated from the University of Bristol in 2014 with a BSc in Zoology. Before beginning her MSc, she worked with the Bristol Zoological Society and volunteered with the Avon Wildlife Trust, where she first saw the impacts that INNS could have on habitats and ecosystems. During her MSc she undertook a placement with the Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum (YISF) and this culminated in a dissertation looking at the various treatments for terrestrial Crassula helmsii on a SSSI with Yorkshire Water.

She started her career at Yorkshire Water developing the Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) for INNS for the next business cycle 2020-2025 and is now responsible for the mitigation of risk that INNS pose to Yorkshire Water operation as the Invasive Non-Native Species and Biosecurity Advisor.


Laura Jones

Senior Ecologist, AECOM

“Plant Identification: The first step”

Laura has worked as a senior ecologist for AECOM since January 2013. Prior to this Laura worked for Peterborough City Council as a Wildlife Officer and as a Conservation Coordinator with Global Vision International in Ecuador, South America. Laura has worked on conservation, residential, commercial, educational, custodial, utility and retail developments nationally on a variety of scales. Laura’s specialist subjects are botany, including invasive species and rarer groups such as arable plants.

Recently she has co-authored Practical Management of Invasive Non-Native Weeds in Britain and Ireland with her colleagues Max Wade and Mark Fennell, has provided invasive species ID sheets for the NNSS, and is a regular contributor to the BSBI.


Dr Johan van Valkenburg

Senior Scientist, National Plant Protection Organisation

“What plants are a current issue in countries across the Channel in the Netherlands, Belgium and France that could become a problem quite quickly in the UK?”

Johan is currently a Senior Scientist at the National Plant Protection Organisation of the Netherlands (NVWA), leading research projects relating to invasive non-native plants. This work ranges from pathway analysis of soil borne contaminants in bonsai and developing barcodes to identify Myriophyllum species in trade, to building an information system on potential invasive plant species for the Netherlands and neighbouring countries (Q-Bank Invasive Plants Database), and creating field guides and border inspection tools in order to identify them.

Johan also links phytosanitary policy with science, and the various public and private parties involved in water weed management. This involves writing policy papers and scientific reports as well as providing training courses and management advice for field surveyors.


Jim Glaister

Southern Regional Manager, The Knotweed Company

“Under the Radar: Buddleia and Bamboo” and “Treating Buddleia, Bamboo and Giant Hogweed”

Jim Glaister has been working in the invasive weeds sector since 2004, and for The Knotweed Company since 2013. He has presented CPD courses for RICS, as well as for local councils and environmental consultants. Since 2009 he has been a contributor to the RICS online information portal, isurve. He was one of the first candidates to sit the CSJK course in 2013 and earned a distinction when sitting the exam the following year. He has been on the roster of examiners and markers for the CSJK exam since 2015 and is a member of the PCA Education Committee.

He is currently writing a book on Japanese knotweed, to be published by Packard Publishing in the New Year.


Dr Peter Fitzsimons

Technical Manager, Invasive Weeds, PCA

“Site-level invasive weed risk assessments – optimising outcomes”

Peter joined the PCA as Technical Manager for the Invasive Weed sector in April 2018. After studying Botany at University College London, Peter spent his pre-Doc and post-Doc years in research labs in Dundee and Nottingham working on various aspects of plant cell growth regulation, eventually working on industry-funded herbicide projects.

Peter, in his role of Technical Manager, is tasked to engage with the members of the IWCG and to look at the longer term strategy for the sector and promote the IWCG and PCA at all levels. Also a pre-requisite is to continue to develop relevant training for the sector.

His interest in biocides took him in to the world of remedial wood preservatives/damp proofing etc at The Wykamol Group, where he spent 20 years as Technical Manager/Director. About 10 years ago, his particular interest in industrial wood preservation lead him to join first BASF then Rütgers Organics GmbH giving him a broader insight in to European biocide markets.


Robert Stevens

Head of Property Risk Operations, Data and Strategy, Nationwide Building Society

“Finance, Mortgages and the Customer Journey in today’s Invasive Weed Environment”

Robert Stevens has a 16 year career spanning financial services at Portman and Nationwide Building Society. Rob’s focus is to challenge the status quo to improve the customer journey and drive business success through proactive risk management and innovation.
His key area of interest has always been the mortgage and property market, with a vision to change the way we transact and take the pain out of buying and selling.

During his career, he has specialised in mortgage policy, regulation, underwriting, conveyancing and valuations. In 2013 he founded the Property Risk department at Nationwide, aiming to provide a sustainable valuation solution for the future. This work has included the introduction of PRIM, the insourcing of panel management for Nationwide and TMW.

His greatest vision was the Property Risk Hub which incorporates the intelligent use of data to link together the underwriting, conveyancing and valuation processes. The aim is to remove duplication and provide more certainty to customers. This allows Nationwide to provide an instant property assessment, enabling their members to obtain a faster lending decision and in some cases, an instant lending decision.


Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson Sprays

“5 Minute Recap on his Presentation Last Year on Spray Nozzles”

Tom has been an enormous influence on spray operators, the agrochemical industry and on the development of nozzle technology over the last 10 years. His support of research projects has resulted in significant improvements in knowledge about a wide range of research areas relating to agricultural engineering, including precision agriculture and pesticide application. His influence is difficult to quantify, but it is unusual to come across a spray operator who has not heard of Tom Robinson!


Colin Liptrot

Field Team Leader, Environment Agency

“Health & Safety in invasive weed management: Achieving best practice”

Colin has been working for the Environment Agency (EA) since 2000, originally as a Civil Engineer in the Emergency Works Unit and later as Team Leader in the Operations Field Department. Previously Colin worked for a site investigation company, on building sites and also as a Landfill Design and Construction Engineer.

Leading on Invasives since joining the EA, Colin is an active member of EA’s Invasive Species and Biosecurity Network, ensuring that learning and best practice are shared amongst the field teams and wider. Colin has delivered IS and B training to some of EA’s partnership organisations in the Public sector and wider contractors, working alongside EA Fisheries and Biodiversity officers.

EA has recently completed a project to ensure that some of their contractors from the Third Sector and/or Social Enterprise are trained to use herbicides to the same level as their own internal teams.


Rodger Burnett

Director, Charles Lyndon

“The impact of the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Williams & Waistell v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited.”

Rodger has a wide range of dispute resolution experience gained acting for both claimants and defendants, first as a barrister and then as a solicitor at Baker & McKenzie LLP and Hausfeld & Co LLP.

Rodger has specialised in Japanese knotweed litigation for over 6 years. He is known as one of the leading authorities in Japanese knotweed law in the country and regularly discusses the subject at conferences, on TV and on the radio.


Alun Oliver

Managing Director, E3 Consulting

“Land Remediation Tax relief and Japanese Knotweed”

Alun is Managing Director of Property Taxation Specialists, E³ Consulting. With over twenty five years of experience, he is one of the UK’s leading experts in the field of property tax advising clients on capital allowances, land remediation tax relief, community infrastructure levy and repairs & maintenance. Alun regularly speaks at conferences and publishes technical papers and articles on Property Taxation. In particular he authored the Property Tax chapter in the RICS Property Solutions paper as well as gave a key note address at MIPIM on the property tax issues affecting and encouraging sustainable development.

In 2018, Alun became a member of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) Hampshire Branch committee. He was a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Tax Policy Panel and is an associate member of the British Property Federation’s Tax Committee. He is a past member of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Tax, Financial and Legal Committee. He was also previously Chair of the RICS South East Regional Board and an active past member of the RICS Business Asset and Valuation Faculty Board.


Mark Buckingham

Corporate Engagement, Bayer CropScience

“Glyphosate: An insight into its current approval status”

Mark has a BSc in Agriculture from Reading University UK and is a 1996 Nuffield Farming Scholar. After University Mark became a farm business consultant in East Anglia and then spent two years in marketing and communications for a grain trading company.

Mark joined Monsanto in 1999 in the UK, moving to a media relations role at the company’s headquarters in St Louis, USA and later Monsanto’s Australian business in Melbourne covering media and government relations. Returning to Europe and working in Brussels and their vegetable seed business in The Netherlands. Mark joined Bayer with their acquisition of Monsanto in June 2018.