People often say to me "Why has Japanese Knotweed suddenly become such big news, it's been around since 1840, why is it only just beginning to register as an issue?"
Well, there is actually a technical reason for this; invasive non-native species go through a series of 'phases' as they settle into a new environment.
We have the 'lag phase', then the 'establishment phase', then the 'rapid growth phase' and then the 'settled phase'. There can take decades between each phase to be registered and often take place so subliminally that nobody registers the change.
Japanese knotweed has been through the 'lag' and 'establishment' phase and has been thoroughly enjoying itself over the last decade in its 'rapid growth phase' and is now coming into its 'settled phase' as a recognised plant in and around our major conurbations.
This got me to thinking about INNSA - The Invasive Non Native Specialists Association. For the last few years, not many people have been aware of what INNSA stands for (the 'lag phase'), but we are currently going through an 'establishment phase' and, following the upcoming conference in Derby we are expecting a 'rapid growth phase'.
So maybe INNSA will simply mirror the pattern of the invasive non-native species that we deal with - going through growth and recognition as people realise what we stand for? Hopefully, this won't take hundreds of years, but a gradual acceptance and understanding of the issues that we deal with over, say, the next three to five years, would be good!
INNSA member companies will be honest and diligent and provide sound advice on issues relating to invasive non-native species. Members will provide an insurance backed product on every domestic project carried out - this will be provided with inspection from the PCCB (Property Code Compliance Board) and will have a clear and concise system for handling complaints. All members must be able to demonstrate training and employment of a BASIS qualified staff member to advise customers on use of chemicals.
I'm not suggesting that INNSA will become a problem species, but poorly qualified companies hoping to make a quick buck out of dodgy Japanese Knotweed removal had better watch out!