Government steps up fight against alien plants
Appeared on Space For Nature on March 7th 2005
Selling or distributing a range of environmentally damaging 'garden' plants is about to become an offence.
It is already illegal to plant Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). Now the Nature Conservation Minister, Ben Bradshaw, has unveiled plans to add a number of other dangerously invasive plants to schedule 9 of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act which will make it an offence to import or sell them. The affected plants include Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), New Zealand pigmyweed (Crassula helmsii), water fern (Azolla filiculoides) and Rhododendron ponticum.
It is often the poor disposal of unwanted specimens of these plants (many of which were originally introduced by the Victorians) which can lead to unintentional adverse impacts in the wider environment where they can be highly invasive. You should never buy, plant or distribute any of these plants and if you are disposing of any, make sure that you do so in a way that does not threaten the countryside.
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