In a recent edition of a local weekly newspaper the increasing problem of Japanese Knotweed is once again highlighted in an article entitled “Creeping weed menace that threatens Nairn's buildings”. The newspaper points out that Japanese Knotweed can damage buildings and thus has a consequence on property values. A very real problem then but its unchecked advance in recent years has also meant that native flora on the riverbank has been losing out and there follows a further effect between the complex relationship between what goes on in the river and on the riparian area nearby – the entire ecology of the river suffers as a result of the knotweed and also the abundance of Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed (the latter two much easier to deal with however) .
Rupert Furze is quoted: “I wonder what the Highland Council is doing about the rapid expansion of this weed along the banks of the Nairn? Were I a householder in that part of the town I would certainly be anxious.” More on page 3 of this week's edition of the Nairnshire Telegraph.
Obviously there will have to be a spraying campaign on the town centre stretch of the River Nairn, at least in those areas where the invasive weed is close to buildings. If the will is not there to tackle it generally however then prepare for the sight in a few years time when a Japanese Knotweed monoculture conquers the entire riverside – a vision that isn't too many years in the future.
The Gurn reported in two years ago on the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fishery's initiative to tackle invasive species. Here is the article complete with two videos including a speech at the Howford from Fergus Ewing. The Gurn understands that there has been spraying of affected areas on the River Nairn since then but in the town centre the only area seriously treated so far seems to be the spot between the A96 bridge and the sewage bridge which fell under the regeneration project that River CC undertook. There was a Highland Council representative at the Fishery's launch so presumably they subscribe to a multi-agency approach to dealing with the problem. The Council sprays Hogweed every year on the town centre riverbanks but the knotweed is left in peace. Admittedly there are cost issues and it would be a 4-5 year programme but it will have to be done in the very near future.
It may be that if the community has a desire to see the Knotweed removed, property protected and a more favourable ecology restored then citizens will have to get involved themselves. Maybe NICE could provide a route or perhaps the Social Enterprise initiative mooted by Simon Noble of River CC might even provide a long term answer should either of those two organisations respective plans ever get off the drawing board.
Previous Gurn articles below.