Help plea to tackle Japanese Knotweed in Camarthenshire

Japanese Knotweed is such a big problem in Carmarthenshire that Welsh Government help is needed to tackle it, council chiefs have said.

The weed is beginning to have an economic as well as an environmental impact, according to a report prepared for Carmarthenshire Council’s executive board.

In the report, Phil Snaith, chairman of a group looking at non-native invasive weeds (NNIW) for the council, said: “Despite the already known environmental impact, even home mortgages are now beginning to be blocked by the presence of NNIW.”

The weeds’ spread was also causing safety issues with some older residents fearing thickets of the weeds provide the “perfect hiding place” making open spaces “no-go areas” because it encourages antisocial behaviour. The weeds also become “litter traps”.

Tackling the problem is estimated to cost the Welsh economy £125 million a year.

Japanese Knotweed can grow through concrete and Tarmac, damaging buildings and roads.

The plant, which can grow a metre a month, can lie dormant for 20 years before growing. A new plant can spring from just one centimetre of cut stem.

But council leader Meryl Gravell added: “I feel it’s such a problem that we need to get the Welsh Government to look at it.”

Labour group leader Kevin Madge, the council’s deputy leader, said it was time the problem was sorted out. “If it carries on the way it has it will double in size in 50 years,” he said.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “Detailed guidance on the control of Japanese Knotweed in construction and landscape contracts is to be distributed to local authorities by the Welsh Government.”