Invasive non-native species are any plants or animals that have been introduced to an area outside of their natural range, by humans.
The most commonly recorded species in this area are Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, and Giant Hogweed. Japanese Knotweed can cause problems such as damaging concrete, tarmac and brickwork. Both Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam also have significant ecological impacts as they out-compete and restrict other native plants from growing reducing biodiversity. Giant Hogweed can be harmful to human health as the sap from the plant can cause skin irritation and burns.
Common Ragwort is a native species and is important in terms of biodiversity, due to the large numbers of invertebrates that it supports. However it can cause death if eaten by grazing animals and for this reason it may need to be controlled.
Who is responsible for dealing with invasive weeds?
It is up to individual landowners to carry out treatment of invasive weeds on their land. The Council and the Environment Agency are not responsible for the control of invasive species on behalf of other landowners and do not have any powers to force landowners to carry out control.
If there is an issue with the spread of Japanese knotweed between private properties then this is a private matter between the two landowners. The Council have no powers to intervene in this or require a private landowner to resolve the matter. You may need to seek legal advice if your neighbour refuses to deal with the problem.
If there is a problem on Council-owned land adjacent to your property it is the land-holding department within the Council that will be responsible for dealing with the issue. If the property is a Council house then queries should be directed to the local area housing office. Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust should be contacted for issues in local parks and playing fields. To find out which department is responsible for a particular piece of land you are advised to contact the Council’s Terrier Section who hold all records of Council land ownership on 01942 705464.
The American Mink is a semi-aquatic carnivore similar to the Weasel and has spread throughout the UK following release from Mink farms in the 20th century. It is an opportunist predator feeding on ground nesting birds, small mammals and fish. They have dark brown fur, usually with a small white patch under their chin.
There has been concern that the American Mink population has been increasing in the Wigan area, particularly in the Boroughs important wetland habitats where it could have a negative effect on the populations of wildfowl and Water Voles.
Leigh Ornithological Society (external link) have set up a webpage to monitor sightings of American Mink. Anyone who sees one should report it on their website.