Wigan township residents concerned by alarming amount of invasive plant in the area
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Many living in Standish have reported sightings of Japanese knotweed to the council and on social media sites to make others aware of what to look out for.
Reports have been made for the Red Rock Lane area, Wigan Road, Bradley Lane and several other locations around Standish as locals are concerned about the nature in which the plant can spread – despite reports little action appears to have been taken.
Japanese knotweed is incredibly difficult to eradicate and should not be attempted to be dealt with without the help of professionals and can affect the probability of obtaining a mortgage if it is present on a property.
Dave Andrews, also known as Dave the Plantman, said: “There are clumps of it everywhere, and the way it has spread all over the country is that people have dug it up and just fly-tipped it. Now it’s classed as a harmful plant, the only way to dispose of it correctly is a special tip where it must be buried 5m deep."
As the plant doesn’t set seed in the UK, it can only be spread vegetatively – by spreading the roots, meaning that it cannot be placed in the green bin and throwing it over the fence will cause it to grow back on the other side.
There are several ways to identify Japanese knotweed including zig-zag stems, lush green leaves, purple speckled stems and a rhizome crown at the base of the plant.
An extensive knotweed removal has already begun opposite the Lakeside Care home on Chorley Road as developers take action to remove it, but other areas affected appear to have been neglected by landowners.
Coun Ray Whittingham said: “I reported a case between Bradley Lane and Sheldon Avenue and the council responded that it wasn’t council land, if they want to encourage residents to use the bridleways to stay fit they should have some involvement with keeping them open and clear.
"It seems to be spreading all over Standish and a lot of it has spread from the old tip on Chorley Road, it was absolutely rampant with it.”
Coun Deborah Parkinson said: “I think people aren’t aware that if they’ve got it near their house then they aren’t allowed to put it in their green bin, it’s against the law.
“I think we’ve got to start educating the members of the pubic and residents on how to deal with it because it will end up in gardens and on footpaths. Education is needed to alert people and not panic people. It’s limited because the council can’t do anything on private land.”
Dave Lyon, assistant director for environment at Wigan Council, said: “Wigan Council has a robust treatment programme for invasive weeds on council land, to protect our native plants and keep our borough looking beautiful. This programme includes not just Japanese knotweed, but also giant hogweed and Himalayan balsam.
“In 2022, the council treated 672 Japanese knotweed sites on council land, and we’d encourage people to report sites to us via the ‘invasive weeds’ form on our website.
“If the Knotweed is on private land, this is the responsibility of the landowner to treat.”