(Left to right) Paul Kent of award sponser Stallard Kane, Peter Watson of RPS and Stephen Hodgson, Chief Executive of the Property Care Association
Award image courtesy of Property Care Association
Japanese knotweed close-up - the pen helps give a scale to the leaf size.
Japanese knotweed damage to a building. Japanese knotweed images: Peter Watson
RPS Ecologist Pete Watson has received the Property Care Association’s (PCA) Japanese Knotweed Technician Student of the Year award at the annual PCA Awards Dinner held at the University of Warwick in Coventry, UK on May 4th, recognising his achieving the highest scores in training last year.
Pete completed PCA Qualified Technician (PCAQT) – Japanese Knotweed last year, building on his Certificated Surveyor of Japanese Knotweed (CSJK) status, and training in NPTC Safe Use of Pesticides for applied herbicide control of pest plants. He has recently contributed technical notes on Schedule 9 invasive species: Purple Dew Plant and Hottentot Fig for the PCA control reference document to be published later this year.
“As an ecologist I have been involved in the management and control of invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam for nearly five years, with invasive species occupying over half of my working time” says Pete “I conduct site assessments, provide recommendations and management plans, control options, biosecurity advice, clerk of works services for excavation and removal/burial, and implement herbicide control plans.”
Non-native invasive species (NNIS) do not occur naturally in Great Britain, but have been introduced and subsequently become established. They are agents of change and can cause economic and/or ecological damage, costing the UK economy an estimated £2bn+ each year, through control expenditure and impacts including agriculture impacts, amenity impacts, and flooding severity. Some Schedule 9 invasive species, notably Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam can significantly affect property value and land development and impede sales as owners are obliged to take the necessary steps to ensure they are eradicated. Due to these negative impacts and associated legislative requirements it is important to integrate their control and management into property management and development.
The PCA promotes high standards of professionalism and expertise within the industry through training and other support services. It helps consumers to identify specialist contractors and consultants to provide effective services which can help control and eradicate invasive plant species. As part of its commitment to maintaining its PCA membership, staff from the office undergo regular training, and audits and continually strive to improve still further. “To provide clients with confidence we are managing invasive species appropriately and to best practice guidelines we ensure we have full training and experience to meet the job required” explains Pete “My training for controlling plants has been specifically developed with the focus on invasive species and Japanese Knotweed in particular.”
RPS, and in particular its Cambridge office, provides a fully integrated service for identifying and dealing with invasive species, and is a significant contributor to the development of invasive species management, policy and guidance in the UK.