National trade body the Property Care Association (PCA) has drawn up a new training programme specific to local authority professionals looking to broaden their knowledge of issues surrounding the invasive plant Japanese knotweed.
The course comes at a timely moment in the UK, following the recent announcement from the Home Office that it is has reformed anti social powers to introduce Community Protection Notices that could be used to deal with Japanese knotweed and other non-native invasive plants.
This could see fines of up to £20,000 imposed for companies failing to tackle the problem. Individuals would also be forced to comply too, or face a fine of up to £2,500. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 does not explicitly refer to Japanese knotweed or other, similar invasive non-native plants, as the new powers are intended to be flexible.
However, local councils have the power to issue a Community Protection Notice if a person or organisation’s unreasonable conduct is having a continuing detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality, and that conduct is unreasonable.
Steve Hodgson, chief executive of the PCA, said: “The recent Home Office Guidance that could be applied to Japanese knotweed means there is a requirement for those in local authorities to be able to correctly identify Japanese knotweed and also to identify workable strategies for its control and eradication.
“As a result we are offering this short course to council officers, who need to understand the technical problems and solutions to dealing with Japanese knotweed, as part of their updated duties.
In 2012, The Property Care Association – which has been in formation for more than 80 years – worked with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – supported by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and The Building Societies Association – together with Japanese knotweed control companies that currently operate within the UK, to set up the Invasive Weed Control Group, to signpost consumers to professional treatment companies.
Mr Hodgson added: “Japanese knotweed is just a plant and we are taking all steps necessary to ‘normalise’ it, so it is viewed generally as any other type of property problem, in that it can be identified and treated, with minimal impact.
“Our comprehensive training programme already operates different courses, at technician and surveyor level, and this latest course is a further step in achieving this objective.”
Dates for the training programme are currently being set in 2015. To find out more please call the PCA on 0844 375 4301, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Guidance on using the Community Protection Notice to deal with Japanese knotweed can be found here:
Notes To Editors
Noted for its training and technical expertise, the PCA incorporates the British Wood Preserving and Damp-proofing Association (BWPDA), which has been in formation for more than 85 years.
The trade body represents the UK’s structural repair sector, as well as the structural waterproofing, wood preservation, damp-proofing, flood protection and invasive weed control industries.
Press release issued by Jane Shepherd of Shepherd PR Limited, 01538 308685, mobile 07985 129315.