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14 May 2015 < Back

New course gives local authority professionals the inside track on Japanese knotweed

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.

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Knotweed & Community Protections Notices

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.

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“The training will include modules on the identification of Japanese knotweed, setting and defining community trigger points and an outline of suitable control and eradication strategies.”

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.”

How to book onto the specialist local authority course

Dates for the training programme are currently being set in 2015. To find out more please call the PCA on 01480 400000 or email [email protected]

Guidance on using the Community Protection Notice to deal with Japanese knotweed can be found via our hprofessional pages by clicking on the button below.

More about Japanese Knotweed

 

More about Invasive Weed & Knotweed training

 

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