€5.5m to tackle knotweed on roads; Multi-phase project ‘will take years’ to eradicate invasive plant

Transport Infrastructure Ireland has unveiled a €5.5m war-chest aimed at stopping the spread of Japanese knotweed on the country’s national road network.

Japanese knotweed

According to head of environment policy at TII, Vincent O’Malley: “Japanese knotweed is a non-native invasive species and it’s a problem for everyone.

“TII and the Department of Transport are taking a national approach working with local authorities in battling Japanese knotweed, it will be ongoing for years to come, and it will take variety of stakeholders working together to have lasting impact.”

Property owners who find Japanese knotweed on their property are advised not to strim, cut, flail or chip the plants as tiny fragments can regenerate new plants and make the problem even more difficult to manage.

The knotweed can be controlled successfully through the application of appropriate herbicides. Eradication of the plant requires planning, as follow-up treatments are usually required.

The €5.5m fund comes after TII sought tenders from contractors to be involved in a framework agreement to tackle the spread of the species.

In total, 34 firms tendered for the work with 15 being successful for inclusion in the framework agreement.

They are Clonmel Enterprises; Hawthorn Nurseries & Landscaping Ltd; Invas Biosecurity; Greentown Environmental Ltd; BEC Consultants; Invasive Plant Solutions; Jons Civil Engineering; Henderson & Taylor; Priority Construction; Redlough Landscapes; SAP Landscapes Ltd; Tobin Consulting Engineers; Invasive Plant Management; O’Donovan Agri-Environmental Services; and Japanese Knotweed Ireland.

In 2015, TII implemented the first phase of a management strategy for Japanese knotweed and similar invasive species which involved extensive identification and data mapping of knotweed infestations in two pilot counties, Kerry and Galway.

The research culminated in a contract where 10,000sq m of Japanese knotweed was treated on the N70 in Kerry in September 2015.

The second phase of the national strategy for the treatment of invasive alien species is currently in progress.

According to TII, the counties identified for immediate work are Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Clare, Tipperary, Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Wexford. In all, €1m has been allocated for this phase.

The €5.5m fund will be available for local authorities who will draw down from it through the competitive tendering for call-off contracts (which specifies terms, conditions and prices with suppliers of goods and services).

TII confirmed that a number of call-off contracts, which specify terms and conditions, have been issued to several local authorities for tender and award of eradication treatments on national routes and their intersections with regional roads.

TII said: “These contracts have been set up as a four-year rolling treatment programme in order to control and prevent the further spread of invasive alien plant species. Further call-off contracts will be issued in ensuing years to treat the remaining counties affected by IAPS [invasive alien plant species] infestations.”

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