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After the glad tidings that vast sums of lottery cash destined for environmental work across the country might just be diverted to London’s Olympic preparations, it seems as though nature – with a bit of help from good old-fashioned ignorance – could already be exacting an ironic revenge on the project.
One of the many areas of East London earmarked for sporting developments seems to be heavily infested with the dire weed Japanese Knotweed. The usual last-minute consideration of environmental and green matters mean that pondering how to get rid of this pernicious pest seems not to have been very high on the London Development Agency (LDA) agenda. It’s quite possible to get rid of knotweed by spraying, but to do properly over such a big area will take a few years – and they won’t have a few years if they don’t get a move on. The alternative, heavy-engineering, last minute solution is to remove the contaminated spoil and landfill it. No doubt the engineers have nodded and assumed that this would be sufficient to deal with a weed or two. But TCM, a weed-control business who have worked on the site already, have estimated that the site they have worked on is just 10 per cent of the overall area needing work, and that the knotweed there alone would fill seven landfill sites, with constant deliveries for 36 weeks at a cost of about