Japanese Knotweed

Have heard this pernicious and evasive plant has been found in Willesden. It is said to be the biggest problem facing the construction industry today (though I suspect government policies and recession must be close runners). Japanese Knotweed is a tall perennial plant. The shoots start to emerge in late March/early April, are asparagus-like and are a red-green colour. As it grows through the summer the red colour turns into red speckles on an otherwise green stem. The weed can grow a metre a month and can cause heave below concrete and tarmac, coming up through the resulting cracks and damaging buildings and roads. Studies have shown that a 1cm section of rhizome can produce a new plant in 10 days. Rhizome segments can remain dormant in soil for twenty years before producing new plants.  It has to be removed by specialists.

Council tax concerns

It is suggested that up to half of people on low incomes will refuse to pay council tax after being caught in the net by benefit changes next year. Under the coalition’s plans to reduce council tax benefits 2m low-income workers will face an average bill of £247 a year – a charge they are currently exempt from. A study found that many councils were resigned to seeing large numbers of residents refusing to pay the tax.  These are people on the lowest incomes. How can councils try to extract taxes from people who just do not have the money to pay?