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Labradors being used by UK building firms to detect dreaded invasive plant

A Labrador sniffs the ground to detect knot weed dog-wow
© Environet UK Limited - Facebook

A specialist in the detection and destruction of the dread weed has revealed the usefulness of the Labrador Retriever in the hunt for the plant.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 13/05/2020, 10:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:28

Environet UK employs two dogs to forage for the weed commonly regarded as the UK’s most aggressive invasive plant.

The Environment Agency warns homeowners and building firms to watch out for the weed and to tackle it at any cost. The plant can break through mortar and concrete drains and sewers, and can render homes inhabitable.

With lockdown easing for some firms, Environet has been called on by contractors re-starting operations who rely on the detection and destruction of the weed.

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Detection dogs afford ‘high certainty’

The two detection dogs, Mick and Mack - more often seen at airport security cordons - are Fox Red Labrador Retrievers. Both were trained by RFA Security, a firm that provides highly trained K9s for various tasks.

The results of the dog detection surveys, which Environet claims are highly accurate, are not only available to buyers. Sellers who wish to reassure buyers of the presence of knotweed or the lack thereof will be able to access the data.

Jason Collins, operations manager at RFA Security, told Property Wire: “Highly trained detection dogs have a long history of working with the police and security services to find drugs and weapons, but increasingly they’re also taking on exciting new roles such as in the health and environmental sectors.

“Now, for the first time in the UK, dogs will be on the front line in the battle against Japanese knotweed, helping protect homeowners as well as our fragile native ecosystems.”