A MAJOR council has been accused of spreading the invasive Japanese Knotweed into the Avon that feeds the Kennet & Avon Canal.
The Wiltshire Council has been accused of ‘acting illegally' by leaving the invasive species to spread down the river, not even removing parts broken off that are floating away, and spreading the plant that is at present growing in the river in the centre of the town, Alan Tilbury reveals.
Under the Wildlife Act, it is an offence to allow the spread of Japanese Knotweed, the bamboo-like plant which grows along river banks and spreads so quickly, conservationists are engaged in a constant battle to contain it.
Austin Espeut is leading a campaign for the council to remove the Japanese Knotweed which is growing on the side of the river by the town bridge, explaining:
"It breaks off easily, and if the seeds get into the water then it'll spread like wildfire all the way down the river. They have been treating it in a really half-hearted way and by not containing it, I believe they are acting illegally as a landowner by allowing it to spread."
The invasive weed was cut back for the Chippenham Folk Festival, but it was left in the water to spread, and is growing rapidly, yet a council spokesman told that it was taking the matter seriously.
Boaters have reported sighting of the plant both on the Kennet & Avon Canal and the Avon down into Bristol.