Knotweed find near East Cork beach sparks fears of spread

Knotweed find near East Cork beach sparks fears of spread
Knotweed growing at Ballinwillig beach near Garryvoe

KNOTWEED has been discovered growing at a site near an East Cork beach, prompting fears it could spread.

The invasive plant was discovered in a lagoon at a council-owned site near Ballywilling beach, west of Garryvoe.

It is believed fragments of the plant may have been dumped along with soil following works in another location last year.

Knotweed growing at Ballinwillig beach near Garryvoe
Knotweed growing at Ballinwillig beach near Garryvoe

The plant is only permitted to be disposed of at Environmental Protection Agency sites — none of which are located in Cork.

Currently, the plant is cleared from sites in Cork and transferred in sealed containers to a facility in Co Mayo.

Cork County Council said the knotweed discovered near Ballywilling is being treated in a fenced off compound.

The Ballymacoda Ladysbridge Community Council said there are fears the plant could cause a risk to buildings and local wildlife.

The Council’s environmental strategic policy committee is due to discuss the possibility of using the Bottlehill landfill site near Mallow for the deep burying of knotweed after Councillor Gerard Murphy (FG) submitted a motion on the matter and said treating knotweed at the source was delaying and adding cost to the building of new homes.

New knotweed plants can grow from the nodes of pieces of green stem, in soil or water. Mechanical cutters, such as flails, can spread knotweed. If stems are dried sufficiently, they will not regrow unless the base of the stem is still attached.

It can take root 10 metres into the ground.

Cork County Council has identified more than 400 roadside sites in the county that are infested with knotweed.

The local authority has set up a special committee to draft policy on dealing with invasive species. A report is due later this year.

The Council is also battling other invasive plants, such as Himalayan balsam and giant rhubarb.

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