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Knot in my back yard


DESTRUCTIVE Japanese Knotweed growing in a roadside verge.

Michael Commins

A public information meeting on the proposal to build a Japanese Knotweed Treatment Plant in Co Mayo will be held in Claremorris Town Hall Theatre on Thursday, March 8, at 8pm. This meeting will discuss the proposals and its implications for the people of the western counties. 
There are mounting fears that anyone seeking to obtain planning permission on a site on which Japanese Knotweed grows will be required to submit a management plan to their planning authority as part of the application. It is expected that such a plan will be required to set out how the plant will be controlled or removed on the proposed site.
The outreach of the Japanese Knotweed problem looks destined to have a major knock-on impact if control measures to stop its rapid spread are not put in place.
One solution is removal offsite in a controlled manner. This involves excavation of the contaminated portion of the ground and transfer to a treatment plant.  The process will involve removal of any soil or material in close proximity to the plant or plants, and could be costly.
The Japanese Knotweed Company from Kerry recently applied to Mayo County Council for a permit to open such a treatment facility in a disused quarry at Caltra, Claremorris.
Serious concerns were raised by residents in close proximity to the quarry and the Kerry company is now on the look-out for another site in Mayo on which to locate their treatment centre.
Japanese Knotweed is an aggressive, destructive and invasive plant which can spread rapidly. Cutting and digging the plant seem to aid its spread rather than its deterioration. It does not seem to respond to conventional spraying with weed-killer.
The meeting in Claremorris will seek to establish the current situation regarding the species, and what will be required of landowners - those with no plans to develop their property as well as those who do, and local authorities.
Various speakers will explain and debate the issue and the options.  The meeting is open to the public who will have an opportunity to question the panel. The venture is hosted by Claremorris Community Radio.

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