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The Independent Online

Spring and, we have to tell you, it's a jungle out there. Those rustling, creaking and crumbling noises you can just make out in the gaps between the concerted roar of neighbouring lawnmowers come from Japanese knotweed trying to grow through your wall. If you think you just saw that flowerbed heave, you're right: the New Zealand flatworm is a real breeder.

Spring and, we have to tell you, it's a jungle out there. Those rustling, creaking and crumbling noises you can just make out in the gaps between the concerted roar of neighbouring lawnmowers come from Japanese knotweed trying to grow through your wall. If you think you just saw that flowerbed heave, you're right: the New Zealand flatworm is a real breeder.

The countryside? You don't want to go there: mink amok, Chinese mitten crabs on the march, sideways, Canadian geese honking, red-eared terrapins advancing inexorably, if slowly, and, of course, those ruddy ducks. Yes, alien species are everywhere, growing, breeding. Don't panic, though: a Government working party is on to it. Its report recommends an improved risk assessment system to help to prioritise action. Thank goodness for that.

Although grateful, we hope action is not confined to foreigners. There are some natives that bear checking out, preferably before the summer. Could everyone, for example, exercise a little more restraint in the matter of hanging baskets? Everywhere. Too many fetes, as well, if the quality of some of the Victoria sponge we tasted last summer is anything to go by. And car boot sales. Surely, too, some kind of briquette and sausage quota could be introduced? Report, please!

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