UK. Japanese Knotweed removal could cost company 100,000

Monday, 27 November 2006

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Following a two-day hearing at Cardiff Crown Court last week (23/24 November) a Rumney-based company have lost their appeal against a Notice from Environment Agency Wales,  requiring them to remove soil containing Japanese Knotweed from their site.

Neal Soil Suppliers Limited of Ty To Maen, Newton Road were appealing against an Enforcement Notice served on them by Environment Agency Wales under Section 59(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The company was ordered to pay full costs of £4,100 to the Agency. They have until 31 March 2007 to remove the waste from their site.

The company had had an earlier appeal dismissed following a two-day hearing at Cardiff Magistrates' Court on 18/19 September this year. Following this appeal costs of £9,075 were ordered to be paid to Environment Agency Wales.

The case arose as a result of Neal Soils removing soils contaminated with Japanese Knotweed from the Grove Park development in Llanishen, Cardiff in early April 2004. Soil was collected from that site and deposited on the Newton Road site despite the fact that it did not benefit from a relevant waste management licence.

The Notice required the removal of Japanese Knotweed contaminated soils, classified as controlled waste, from the site within 28 days. This has now been modified to allow a period of three months, agreed between the two parties. It is estimated that this will cost the company in excess of £100,000.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to plant or cause Japanese Knotweed to grow in the wild. Japanese Knotweed is regarded as the most invasive plant in Britain and can colonise most habitats such as riverbanks, woodland, grassland and coastal areas. It is also able to grow through walls, tarmac and concrete.

During the appeal hearing, it was suggested by the company that the soil could be best treated for the eradication of the Knotweed at their Ty To Maen site. However, the presiding judge expressed in summary that to treat the soils on an unlicensed facility would be authorising an illegal waste management activity. Therefore the appeal was dismissed.

Bob James, Agency Environmental Crime Officer said: ' We hope that the result of this second appeal will serve as a warning to the waste industry as a whole. The Agency will stringently enforce environmental legislation against any company or individual seeking to operate outside the regulatory regime.'

Last Updated ( Monday, 27 November 2006 )