Parliamentary Question No. 347
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to add Japanese knot weed to the noxious weed list; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Anthony Lawlor.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 14th January, 2015.
Ref No: 1784/15
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine: (Simon Coveney)
Japanese knotweed ( Fallopia japonica) is an invasive herbaceous perennial which has the potential to seriously damage buildings and hard surfaces by growing through concrete, tarmac and other hard surfaces while also threatening native plants and animals by forming dense thickets.
Regulation 49 of SI 477 of 2011 European Communities (Birds And Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 makes it an offence for any person who plants, disperses, allows or causes to disperse, spreads or otherwise causes to grow in any place such invasive species as Japanese knotweed.
The Noxious Weeds Act 1936 provides that it is an offence not to prevent the growth and spread of noxious weeds such as Ragwort, Thistle, Dock, Common Barberry, Male Wild Hop and Spring Wild Oat which are currently scheduled under the Act. However, the provisions of the Act have historically generally only been applied to agricultural land and the resulting impact on farming, rather than to weeds predominantly found in non-farming land such as river banks, Special Areas of Conservation etc.
Given the nature of penalties to offences applying under SI 477 of 2011, I am satisfied that adequate legislation pertaining to invasive species such as Japanese knotweed is in place without recourse to amending the Noxious Weeds Act 1936.