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Council offers solution to knotty backyard problem

Swansea residents are getting the chance to have their Japanese Knotweed problem sorted with a bit of help from the council.

Japanese Knotweed

The council is aiming to use its years of experience in tackling the issue on public land to help residents tackle the problem in their own backyards.

Now the growing season has kicked-in, the initiative could help hundreds of homeowners deal with a plant that is among the most invasive in Britain.

Sean Hathaway, from Swansea Council's Environment Services team, says the council has built up years of experience in tackling the problem on land it owns, which is why it's now offering its expertise to private homeowners and businesses on a commercial basis.

He said: "Anyone who's had to put up with Japanese knotweed knows that standard weedkiller doesn't touch it and the tiniest amount left behind will re-grow quickly during the growing season.

"Infestations can not only take over your garden and damage your plants, they can also damage property and even affect property values.

"As a council we have a responsibility to adequately control it on our own patch and in council house tenants' gardens. But private householders have always been responsible for what happens on their own ground.

"Now the treatment service we're offering will bring forward the expertise we've built up over the last 20 years in the treatment of Japanese knotweed to help householders and businesses deal with the problem. How much it will cost will depend on the extent of infestation."

The new service is part of Swansea Council's commercialisation programme, which aims to use council expertise to develop new businesses, the proceeds from which will help maintain provision of core services like education and social care.

Local authorities in England have already introduced commercial activities as a way of increasing income to offset budget reductions to vital frontline services.

Chris Williams, head of the council's commercial team, said: "The knotweed service is part of the council's commitment to doing all it can to reduce the impact of budget reductions on frontline services.

"The purpose of the commercial team is to help unlock the entrepreneurial spirit among our staff to generate income.

"Everyone knows we have to find at least £81m of savings over the coming years and so we'll be more able to deliver on our priorities if we can bolster public services by being more commercial."

Go to the website at www.swansea.gov.uk/getknotweedtreated to find out more about the Japanese knotweed treatment service.


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