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Show of resilience from invasive experts at industry conference

The Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA) hosted its fourth annual conference in Derby in the wake of a turbulent last year for remediation professionals.

INNSA 2018 brought together experts from a range of sectors affected by invasive species, including property, amenities, remediation and legal, to provide updates on the previous year and future advice for those at risk of infestations of the likes of Japanese knotweed.

2017 was a challenging year for the invasives industry, with months of uncertainty on the renewal of Glyphosate licensing causing fears of food shortages, and harmful non-native infestations growing out of control. It also saw a landmark ruling against National Rail for failing to control Japanese knotweed, and worrying new research conducted by the Crop Protection Association (CPA) which revealed that one in seven homeowners saw a property deal fall through due to a knotweed infestation. One in four stated they knew nothing at all about the invasive plant, demonstrating more still needs to be done to educate the general public.

The theme of the fourth annual INNSA conference was reducing the risk, cost, and time often associated with the remediation of non-native species. An all-new format consisted of presentations, workshops, exhibition stands and panel discussions. The informal workshops allowed INNSA organisers to tailor sessions to the specific needs of delegates from different occupations and sectors affected by the need to control invasive species.

The day was opened by INNSA chairperson James Sherwood-Rogers, who welcomed attendees to the event before explaining more about INNSA’s important work and future plans to acquire new members. Morning sessions provided insight into the impact of invasive species on property, with Mark Sexton of Wiggett Group discussing a developer’s perspective on Japanese knotweed.

Spokespersons from Charles Lyndon, the legal practice that last year won a landmark ruling in a four year court case against Network Rail, gave an update on the case. The value of the property affected was halved due to the infestation along the railway.

In the afternoon sessions, Barrie Hunt of Monsanto provided an update on Glyphosate following the European Commission’s vote to renew the licensing. Months of debate were concluded with a vote for a five-year renewal, instead of the fifteen-year extension originally hoped for.

David Layland, joint managing director of Japanese Knotweed Control, teamed up with Tim Bird of COMAC Limited, a construction management and consultancy firm, to deliver workshops on the management of Japanese knotweed, covering best practice in treating the invasive plant and real case studies of knotweed remediation.

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