East Ayrshire Council engaged ISS Waterers Landscapes to cut and remove trees alongside the Palace Theatre on the Kilmarnock Water. I suppose this was sensible to reduce the risk of large objects blocking the culvert under the town centre. It will certainly reduce the amount of litter that becomes entangled on the banks above the bridge and keep things looking cleaner.

Clearing the Trees near the Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock.

Unfortunately, no one considered calling ART to see what Japanese Knotweed was in the area prior to commencing. ART mapped every stand and measured the areas involved during late summer last year prior to commencing control in September. Behind the Palace Theatre where the contractors are working was a stand of about 150 sq m. The contractors failed to recognise this and have driven machinery through the middle of the stand. There was clear evidence of Knotweed crowns and new growth. Living plant material has been disturbed. I find it rather surprising that no one from the council or the contractor thought of checking with us to see if there was anything to be concerned about. EAC did call SEPA who gave them the go ahead. Both the council and ISS know of our control programmes and council staff were treated to two free seminars on best practices, responsibilities and recognition by ART during the winter.

Having highlighted the problem to both Contractor and Council, we have made our point well and hopefully won’t see a repeat of this type of thoughtless action. Any contractor working in riparian areas would be well advised to take advantage of our advice along with other regulatory agencies. It often comes free of charge which these days is a rare thing!

The machine used to bring the cut wood from the river channel.

Straight through a Japanese Knotweed stand. How can we prevent the spread if the professionals can't recognise the plant and know their responsibilities?