Invasive plant group aims to weed out poor operators

31st May 2013

A new trade organisation that aims to create better standards for invasive plant consultants and contractors has been launched today by a group of experts who say they are tired of having to compete against people they claim are little more than cowboy operators only after a quick buck.

The Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA) was launched in Manchester by Mike Clough, managing director of Japanese Knotweed Solutions, with support from David Layland of Japanese Knotweed Control, Nicholas Seal of Environet, Paul Quirmby of the Invasive Plant Company and Nick Hartley of Ebsford Environmental.

Clough said he had been spurred into action by recent experience of having to compete against other contractors who were quoting totally unrealistic contract prices and, unlike his company, were not offering bonded insurance cover so that clients could not come after them if they went into administration.

“I have even seen people advertising knotweed removal alongside ironing services,” he said.

Although the organisation’s initial membership is made up of companies Clough knew and respected through the industry – including competitors – he said other companies would be able to join the organisation as long as they passed an independent assessment, were prepared to offer full insurance protection, and operated under best practice guidelines set out by INNSA.

The organisation has also just launched a website with more information.

At the same event, held at Manchester’s Musuem of Science and Industry (MOSI), Dr Dick Shaw, deputy director for the UK centre of CABI, revealed that he and his staff are on the verge or expanding a trial of a biological control for Japanese Knotweed beyond the limited number of UK test centres they have been using at first.

He warned, however, that any biological control, while costing considerably less than commercial controls, would almost certainly only bring Japanese Knotweed down to a controllable state. It would not eradicate it entirely.

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