The Threat of Japanese Knotweed

Veolia were starting work on a water treatment works project where the route to the site had an abundant overgrowth of one of the world’s worst invasive non-native plant species, Japanese knotweed.

Japanese knotweed spreads rapidly and can grow as tall as 2.1 m (7ft). Due to its ability to rapidly spread, this invasive weed can easily overwhelm other plant species. The Japanese knotweed’s root system and strong growth can damage concrete foundations, buildings, flood defences, roads, paving, retaining walls and architectural sites. It is incredibly difficult to eradicate and it is an offence to cause Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild. There is governmental legislation in place where the growth of Japanese knotweed must be controlled.

Due to the Japanese knotweed impinging on the pathway, Veolia could not pass through with their vehicles due to the risk of causing the Japanese knotweed to spread from their vehicles or employees passing through it.

A Solution Found in TuffTrak® Ground Protection

Veolia previously used wood or hired aluminium for their projects but the wood would need to be disposed of due to its contact with Japanese knotweed and due to the nature of the project being water treatment works, wood would also become damaged by water which would compromise their load bearing capacity. Hiring aluminium was also not possible as no hire company would agree to have it used near Japanese knotweed plus it is very costly to buy. Neither wood nor aluminium could create a seamless roadway which ran the risk of having the Japanese knotweed potentially coming between the mats.

Until a solution could be found so that they could pass through to the site without any risks, the project was halted.

The TuffTrak® XT was chosen as the perfect solution for this type of project due to its 200 mm overlap and TuffTrak XT in use by Veoliaconnection TuffTrak® XT system which is on all sides of the mat. These overlaps in conjunction with connectors allow for seamless connection of the matting and this prevents spoil from leaching from the ground underneath, stopping anything from coming through and keeping the top surface clear and risk-free.

Veolia approached TuffTrak® and discussed their requirements, TuffTrak® then conducted thorough research into additional products to ensure that Veolia had complete peace of mind that the risk of spreading the non-native weed would be eliminated.

TuffTrak® offered a complete solution which included full geotechnical information and a specially sourced geotextile material that was placed underneath the matting. TuffTrak® recommended that Veolia use our new extreme ground protection mat, the TuffTrak® XT.

During the project, Veolia’s trucks were moving in and out of site several times to remove spoil and the TuffTrak® XT made this easy thanks to its durable high weight molecular polyethylene construction making it weather, water, oil, and chemical resistant. Its high compressive load bearing capacity of 600 psi*made it ideal for use with heavy vehicles crossing it several times a day.

The combination of the TuffTrak® XT and the geotextile ground protection meant that the project was able to continue risk-free. Veolia were very happy with our product and services and we would like to thank them for their cooperation and look forward to working with them again in the future.

TuffTrak XTFind out more about our extreme heavy duty ground protection solution, the TuffTrak® XT.

TuffTrak® offers a full range of market leading composite ground protection mats delivering a safer work environment for temporary access roadways, trackways, and working platforms.

Call our UK office on +44 (0) 1279 647021 for advice, and details of your nearest worldwide distributor. Or e-mail us at