Invasive species

All involved in buildings and infrastructure have a role to play in the battle against pests harmful to the environment.

What's going on

The construction industry’s impact on Invasive Non-native Species tends to be positive as there may be fewer INNS because of construction’s operations.

In this respect, a construction site can be left in a better state than it is found.

However, invasive species today cause structural damage to the tune of £2.1 billion per year, according to the Environment Agency and the Department of the Regions. [source]

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors now survey for Japanese Knotweed – which has continuous growth of up to 20 centimetres a day – in or near the property as part of its mortgage survey, for example. If it is present, not only will the property be devalued by around 40%, but it will also affect neighbouring properties’ values and often results in subsequent litigation. [source]

If an invasive species is found on site, there is an expectation for construction firms to remove it. Pests can be introduced to break down Japanese knotweed, for example. However, due to constraints, often invasive plant species tend to go to landfills.

Other species the construction industry must contend with include Himalayan Balsam.

 

Termites

Getting nature positive

Constant vigilance of all available information sources about INNS is essential.

The London Invasive Species Initiative, for example, identifies and prioritises specific species that pose a concern, collates monitoring data on the spread of invasive species, provides advice, raises awareness, and coordinates action on the ground. [source]

An alternative approach is to explore ways to turn INNS into usable resources.

In one recent project, researchers created concrete-like tiles that give new economic and ecological value to invasive species – bio-concrete, made from Japanese knotweed and shells from American crayfish. [source]

There are solutions to these challenges, however.

Inspired by steps buildings and infrastructure companies are already taking, we’ve compiled suggested actions to help you on your journey to getting nature positive.

Explore actions for nature