Invasive Species Special Control Orders

by Andy on February 18, 2015


Its getting serious!

The war (and legislation) on invasive species is definitely hotting up. Last year we had the distinct possibility of landowners not controlling the spread of invasive plants from their property onto neighbouring land being either criminally convicted, fined or issued an ASBO. Now the local councils have been granted the powers to access private land, without the permission of the owner and eradicate the flora (or fauna) which have a potential threat to the surrounding environment. The powers have been granted predominantly for recently arrived invasive non-native species, but could be used to combat our established invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, Rhododendron, etc.

Special Control Orders (SCO’s) can now be issued by the Environmental Agency, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commissioners. If issued the order forces the landowner to remove the invasive species at their own expense or allow the issuer the right to access the land.

We’re currently in the process of producing a guide to Japanese Knotweed Removal which can hopefully answer any questions you have regarding the plant and eradicating it. Guides for Giant Hogweed and Rhododendron are also in the pipeline.

If you can’t find the information your looking for email us at or phone free on 0800 0209 307



How do I recognise Lyme disease?

by Alasdair on February 16, 2015

Sheep tick

Arrgh get it off, get it off get it off @ Nikola Rahme

A little known risk is of working in the great outdoors is Lyme disease.  Anything which can be done to increase awareness of this nasty condition is worthwhile and since we’ve been doing a bit of work in moderately high risk areas recently it seemed like a good idea to write a post about it.

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease which is spread to humans from infected ticks, like the nasty looking critter in the picture above.  If undetected this is a disease which can have seriously debilitating and life changing neurological effects.

The most obvious symptom is a red rash often described as a bullseye or target shaped rash centred on the site of the tick bite which can manifest 3 to 30 days after the bite.  This doesn’t always appear though.  The rash will be followed some by or all of the following; flu like symptoms, tiredness, headaches and joint or muscle pain.  Later symptoms include muscle pain, joint swelling and pain and paralysis, particularly of the face.  If left untreated this can become a chronic condition described as chronic Lyme Disease with symptoms similar to Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

All very nasty so what do you do?  As ever prevention is better than cure.

The disease is exclusively spread by the bite of infected ticks which normally feed on wild animals.  Ticks are found on a great many animals from deer to mice and everything in between but in the UK they tend to be most prevelant in areas where there are lots of deer or sheep.  If you’re working or even just walking through land where these animals live, particularly dense or overgrown vegetation and there’s an increased risk of ticks a few simple precautions can help keep the wee blighters off your skin.  Wear long trousers and sleeves, tuck trousers into socks or otherwise secure any holes in clothing. Use insect repellent.  Check clothing to avoid bringing them home with you, light coloured clothes make this easier.  Perhaps most important is to check yourself for ticks when you come home and check over any children or pets.  It’s important to remember to check in your hairline, if checking yourself this is most easily done by touch or ask a friend to pretend to be a chimpanzee and check for you, eating any finds is optional.  Be sure to check all over your body they’re particularly fond of armpits, the backs of knees and groin area.  The risk of contracting Lyme disease from an infected tick increases the longer it’s allowed to stay attached so finding and removing them quickly is strongly advised.

Removal should be done either with a nifty little tick remover or a pair of tweezers.  Get as close to the head as possible avoid squashing it’s body and pull straight out.  The tick can then be squashed and disposed of in a tissue or washed away.  If you’re feeling public spirited you can pop it in a plastic container and send it to the government monitoring scheme.  Be aware that it may contain infected blood so avoid getting this on your hands.  Do not burn, squash or cover ticks with petroleum jelly in fact just generally avoid doing anything other than a quick clean removal.  If the tick gets stressed it may regurgitate it’s stomach contents into the wound greatly increasing risks of infection.  A detailed guide can with pictures and videos be found here.

If you do develop any symptoms then go to your GP as soon as possible and tell them that you were in an area where ticks are prevalent or if you know you were bitten by a tick let them know and that you suspect Lyme disease.  Diagnosis is usually confirmed by blood tests however it’s important to be aware that the test is not effective immediately after infection it may take a few weeks for the infection to develop to a point where it’s detecable and the test isn’t 100% effective and re-tests may be required.  Treatment is with antibiotics and if caught early a full recovery is likely.

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Emergency Oil Spill Clean-Up!

February 4, 2015

These are just a few handy tips when you are dealing with a sudden release of oil from your tank. First of all, is it safe? If it’s not, i.e. big pools of oil, or vapours making you dizzy or ill, remove yourself and call an emergency spill responder. If it is safe, stop the […]

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Japanese Knotweed ASBO follow on

January 13, 2015

A quick follow on to John’s blog on Japanese Knotweed anti-social behaviour orders. There’s been quite a lot of chatter within social media regarding the government bringing in ASBOS’s for failure to control the spread of Japanese Knotweed and other invasive species such as Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam. Besides the rather large fines that […]

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Soilutions pick up the Circular Economy 2014 VIBES Award

January 9, 2015

Ok, so we don’t often ‘blow our own trumpet’ but as we thought you might like to know that we were proudly recognised as champions of business sustainability at the 15th annual Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland (VIBES) Awards for the Circular Economy award, sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland. The VIBES Awards […]

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Oil Tank Maintenance

January 8, 2015

I’m not suggesting you become a registered technician in the field, but regular checks could save you having to call us out to deal with an untimely oil leak- oil leaks are always untimely. It’s important your oil tank is situated on a level base capable of supporting the weight of the tank when it’s […]

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Weed Wiping

December 17, 2014

As the name suggests weed wiping is quite literally wiping weeds. The apparatus shown above is filled with a concentrated dose of herbicide. The chemical saturates the rope attached at the bottom of the wiper allowing the operator to apply directly to the target weed. Simple to use, however training and appropriate PPE are still required. […]

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Stem Injection of Rhododendrons

November 25, 2014

Herbicide application is a great way of killing most problem plant species but with Rhododendron Ponticum the size of the plant and the lack of systemic movement of herbicides down the stem to the root bole, makes spraying mature plants a very tricky prospect. However by putting a more concentrated dose of herbicide directly into the […]

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Japanese Knotweed – Government to issue Asbos

November 21, 2014

The powers in Westminster have decreed that anyone who fails to control the growth of one of our most invasive and pesky none native plants could be issues with an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO to you and me).  No I’m not joking, they are deadly serious, but not as dead as they’d like the Knotweed […]

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Rhododendron Control

October 14, 2014

Rhododendron Ponticum, a pretty (to some) yet pesky invasive species trying to conquer our green and pleasant land. Introduced to the UK back in the 18th century this hardy plant has gone on to dominate large areas of the Scottish landscape, and throughout the rest of the UK. When in bloom the flower can be a huge […]

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