Get fined if you ignore alien invasion

2015-05-26 06:00
Kalk Bay residents have been warned to cut back alien vegetation, as they are a risk in wildfires.


Kalk Bay residents have been warned to cut back alien vegetation, as they are a risk in wildfires. PHOTO: NICOLE MCCAIN

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Do you have an alien in your garden? If so, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

The council has warned residents against growing invasive vegetation on their property, citing them as a fire risk.

Several complaints have been reported via the department of environmental affairs’ hotline, confirms Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning.

“The process of issuing notices was activated. The City has issued one notice for overgrown land on Boyes Drive,” he says.

Alien plants bring an increased risk during wildfires, Van der Merwe explains.

“Woody, invasive plants burn up to ten times hotter than fynbos, making these fires unstoppable during windy conditions. Hot fires also damage topsoil, which in turn results in erosion,” he says. “In the absence of woody, invasive plants, fires are less intense, easier to manage and less damaging to the soil.”

Property owners are required to control invasive plants on their entire property and not only the boundary, Van der Merwe says, or they could face a penalty.

“The department of environmental affairs’ biosecurity compliance section, in partnership with the City of Cape Town and Table Mountain National Park, will be issuing notices to landowners who are negligent in their compliance with the regulations of the National Biodiversity Act, compelling them to control invasive plants or face legal action,” he says

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