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Invasive Species

Check out the ALIENS AMONG US leaflet prepared by Denny Primary School, Dunipace Primary School, St Patricks Primary School and CGI as part of their Japanese Knotweed project funded by CVS Growing Communities Fund

ALIENS AMONG US! Invasive Species Awareness Training Day 12th October in Grangemouth! 


In the spring of 2011, a new group formed, the Falkirk Invasive Species Forum (FISF), which was set up to help progress action to control invasive non-native species across the Falkirk Council area.  Its members include interested community groups, landowners, businesses, environmental agencies, statutory bodies and Falkirk Council.

FISF’s first free public education event is to be held from 9.45am to 4.30pm at the Grangemouth Town Hall on Wednesday 12th October,  entitled “Aliens Among Us! Invasive Species Awareness Training Day”.

The purpose of the event is to provide some free teaching seminars to educate those who deal with or may encounter invasive non-native species in the course of their work in the Falkirk area, with a particular focus on the invasive species Japanese Knotweed.  We will be inviting professionals from the construction industry, utilities, land management, university and agricultural college students, employees and managers from Falkirk Council services and the like.  The topics will include the latest legislation on invasive species. 

The Falkirk Invasive Species Forum and Communities Along the Carron Association (CATCA) would like to invite you to attend this event. 

There will be several classroom presentations, information stalls, a lunch buffet and great opportunities to network. 

We are in process now of finalising our speaker times and topics and setting up our on-line registration process.  Within the next two weeks we will circulate and publicise more details, including an email poster to circulate to your cohorts, and advance registration information for the classes.  Meanwhile, feel free to contact us to tentatively reserve your space, and forward us any email addresses for those you feel would be interested in an invitation to this FREE DAY OF INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS TRAINING.   Class registrations will be based on limited numbers, on a first come first served basis.

Warm regards,

Michelle MillerAllen & Christine Bell
C&M Community Consultants LLP
for Falkirk Invasive Species Forum and Communities Along the Carron Association 

This event is being funded by Falkirk Environment Trust and Falkirk Council Development Services.

Attention!  INNS Trainings in Invasive Species Identification!  Sign up now! For more information contact Emilie Wadsworth at

Falkirk INNS training poster

Lanarkshire INNS training poster



Community Green Initiative has released its full report which indicates an estimated 2800m2 to 6000m2 of the invasive species Japanese Knotweed is present from the Carron Reservoir down to the last few inches of River Carron as it meets the Forth.  The mapping project is the result of two years’ work by volunteers in all the communities along the Carron.

We will continue to update you.  Meanwhile, for more information, see the following:

CGI Mapping Report

Appendices to Report

Fiona Wishart Report on Carron Reservoir Invasive Species

If you would like more information, contact


Good news! The GB Non-Native Stakeholder Forum is held annually and next year it is Scotland’s turn – so it is likely to be held in Edinburgh next May sometime (the location rotates between England, Wales and Scotland). In addition, earlier this year two invasive species workshops were held for local forums in Shropshire and were very successful so there is a possibility that it will be repeated (funding dependent).

The Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill has now been introduced to Parliament (see We will keep you informed as the Bill progresses of any dates that may be of interest.

Mark your calendars: 29th September Communities Along the Carron "River Carron Expo Day" from 10 - 4pm at Grangemouth Town Centre. Will include presentations and displays on all water issues including invasive species. More on that later this summer.

CGI is currently compiling mapping results from its River Carron Invasive Species Mapping Project.

Thanks again to Angela Robinson, Invasive Non-Native Species Policy Rural and Environment Directorate who keeps us informed!

For more information on invasive non-native species, visit:



The decision has been made: a tiny Japanese insect that could help the fight against an aggressive superweed has been given the go-ahead for a trial release in England this spring at a handful of sites.

For the full story:

CGI took part in the consultation for the release of the psyllid last year.  The summary of responses is now available at the Defra website and is very interesting reading:


Results just released from the July 09 consultation on the proposed release of the non-indigenous insect, Aphalara itadori, into the environment as a biological control agent for Japanese Knotweed. Most who took part in the public consultation were cautiously supportive of the release of this insect (as was CGI), many raised further questions and concerns and an additional meeting for further discussion has been called—to be held at Defra’s Innovation Centre, Reading, on December 9th. With the results of the consultation, this final meeting will inform the Government’s decision as to whether this insect should be deliberately released in England and Wales.

Follow the link below to read up on the thought provoking questions and answers from the consultation and for more information on the 9th December meeting:

Download consultation

If you would like to make further comments or provide additional evidence for CGI to pass along, please send your views in by email BEFORE 16th December to

PS: Angela Robinson, Invasive Non-Native Species Policy Rural Directorate, has sent us the following links:

Non-Native Species Secretariat website – this is a portal for information about non-native species in Great Britain: You’ll find lots more information on that website about the various things going on at a GB level – both involving policy and the various events and consultations relating to non-native species. And for more information on invasive non-native species, visit:

THE KNOTWEED KNEWS ~ August/September 2009



In August 2008, CGI embarked on a mapping of invasive species Japanese Knotweed (also Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam) along the Carron, with the view of then seeking expert advice on whether or not and how knotweed can be eradicated or controlled. 

CGI understands that the roots are invasive, that it spreads easily, that it has a serious impact on Scottish biodiversity, impacting not only other plant life but insects, fish and other wildlife.   We also understand that unfortunately the invasive species is holding up some of the riverbank.  Therefore, our interest in this problem includes investigation into any possible solutions via natural flood defence in ensuring that the riverbank remains in place or is enhanced in terms of flood control.

The mapping project is anticipated to finish up in the Spring of 2010 and proceed to the next stage – which will be compiling all the data, determining the true picture and then approaching experts, professionals, councils, landowners and funders to determine how eradication and/or control can begin in this area.

Meanwhile, CGI’s knotweed volunteers continue to map, identify locations, follow up on knotweed spotted at development projects and try to keep abreast of the many things happening in the UK regarding this invasive plant.

BBC Landward video on the environmental dangers of Japanese Knotweed



If you or your group want to help map invasive species along the River Carron (or anywhere in the Falkirk District), you may download or print these documents to help you get started. Please email us and we will also send your official CGI Volunteer Mapping ID card, Risk Assessment, and A4 maps for the area you wish to map:




There is an invasive species consultancy afoot which will hopefully result in some legislative changes that will better control the Knotweed problem.  For more information follow this link:

[Further details]

CGI is preparing a statement to submit to the Wildlife & Natural Environment Bill Team, The Scottish Government, in order to take part in this consultancy. 
The deadline for responses to the consultation is Friday 4 September 2009. Once the views expressed in consultation have been assessed, the Scottish Government’s current intention is to introduce a Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill to the Parliament at a suitable opportunity.



On a rainy 8th of September, Roseanna Cunningham, Environment Minister visited CGI at the Heritage Rooms to talk about the issue of Japanese Knotweed. The meeting was attended by members of CGI, some of the invasive species mapping volunteers, Michael Matheson MSP, Cllr John McNally, Cllr Alex Waddell, CllR Jim Blackwood, Arthur Berg of Falkirk Environment Trust, Jim Graham of EB Scotland and others.

We had a good dialogue with her and walked with her to the river to see a large stand of knotweed. Falkirk Ranger Fiona Wishart gave us all a brief instruction about the problems of knotweed and gave the Minister a copy of her recent knotweed survey of the Carron reservoir area which is part of the River Carron mapping project. We also presented Roseanna Cunningham with various materials regarding our mapping project and we do feel encouraged that the government is seeking to address the non native invasive species problems, which are very complex. It was agreed that education of the public is key to help stop the spread of the plants while we all try to sort out how to monitor and control what is already present.

A follow up report on the event in the Falkirk Advertiser indicated that the Minister gave praise for CGI’s endeavours and noted that the Scottish Government is consulting on proposals for stronger legislation to prevent the spread of invasive species and introduce powers to control problem invasive non-native plants and animals.

CGI was very pleased that the Environment Minister was able to make time in her busy schedule to come talk to a grass roots group in this manner.



In response to our request to Fiona Wishart, FC Ranger, as to whether various council services could be educated and advised so that they would not inadvertently contribute to the spread of JKW (by strimming, etc.), Fiona took the bull by the horns (or knotweed by the roots?) and put together an advisory email with attachment leaflet which was circulated recently to the whole of Falkirk Council from the Outdoor Access Team.  This was a nice piece of work and we wish to raise a cheer for Fiona and Angus Duncan of the team!  The Outdoor Access Team has also been doing a lot of work to educate primary school pupils about knotweed.  Excellent work!


The government is seeking public input on the proposed use of the psylid insect to control Japanese Knotweed:

[Further details]

CGI may give input on this issue also.  Follow the link below for the basic consultancy information and notice of an October 2009 deadline.  Any intelligence on this issue would be appreciated, please email us!

[Further details]


CGI is producing a series of articles regarding various invasive species.  These articles, by various authors, are highly readable, extensive and informational, explaining the history and science of these issues.  Check out our NEW LEAF NEWS page at this website for the following:

On JAPANESE KNOTWEED see our Summer 2009 Issue of NEW LEAF NEWS, Page 8, “An Invasive Threat to Biodiversity” by Art Berg

On Rhododendron, see our Spring 2009 Issue, page 7, “Invasive Species – Rhododendron Ponticum in the UK” by Art Berg

Giant Hogweed was covered in the Autumn 2009 Issue by Audrey Morrison & Clackmannanshire & Stirling Environment Trust. 
Invasive Non-native Invertebrtes are covered in the Winter 2009 issue by Craig Macadam of Buglife

Other species to come in later issues.  We welcome articles if you have expertise or an interest in these topics.


Our volunteer trainers and knotweed experts:

  Audrey Morrison ~ Development Officer for Clackmannanshire and Stirling Environment Trust for last 10 years (funding community environmental improvement projects) and Project Manager for Stirling Invasive weeds project, for last 8 years which involves data collection and management, fund raising, contract management and public awareness raising. She holds an Honors Degree in Ecology, and Masters in Environmental Management
  Fiona Wishart ~ Attended Falkirk College where she did her HND, with an advanced diploma in Ecology; then attended Napier University for an Honors Degree in Animal Biology. Has worked as a surveyor and has experience in habitat surveying of various plant species as well as Phase 1 and 2 surveys. She has also carried out some surveying of plantations in Scotland for the Forest Research/Forestry Commission. She worked in Loch Lomond National Park as a ranger for 4 years and has been an Outdoor Access and Biodiversity ranger with Falkirk Council for the past 3years. She is based in Falkirk and knows the area pretty well and knows most areas along the River Carron.

Knotweed photos courtesy Ranger Fiona Wishart, Janet Foster and CGI; "Psyllid: U R What U Eat" graphic McCallum (c) 2009. Request permission to use.