Wednesday, 14 October 2009

A knotty problem

At today's cabinet meeting, the Council agreed to apply for a licence to trial a new way of getting rid of Japanese Knotweed. It is in the form of a bug which, according to what we were told, will suck the sap of this plant but will affect nothing else.

Knotweed, as many non-indiginous species, is a real problem. It takes over gardens and open spaces and can be impossible to get rid of. I therefore welcome a safe way of dealing with it.

People will naturally be concerned that bringing in another foreign import to tackle it might simply create a whole new catastrophe. We were assured it won't.

My concern comes because we must rely on these assurances. Despite being promised that the scientists behind the scheme would come and give evidence, it was decided that such a presentation and questioning would be only for cabinet members and behind closed doors. Opposition councillors, as well as the press and public, never got the chance to see the evidence or to have their say.

I fervently hope that the assurances are true. I have no reason to doubt the experts on this. But it would have been far more reassuring to be able to see all the evidence and have the chance to ask questions.

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