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September-October 2018

Journal entries are minted about every six to eight weeks.

September going into October was a standout month for our small and dedicated team at Ai.

Massive efforts from ICL, Complete Weed Control, Green-Tech and many more getting our Invasives Research Centre in top condition for the Invasives Live event. Thank you to all the sponsors and attendees for such an enthusiastic turn out.

The marquee was fit for a banquet; we all proved the adage that many hands make light work! And the Griffith’s send their regards to ICL for treating the garden lawn with an especially nourishing turf mixture — it’s never looked so dense and verdant.

The team at St David’s hotel, and Donna in particular, made sure the event ran smoothly. ICL’s Mark Pyrah and Kevin Whitby also leading a stellar effort on getting everyone organised and all the presentations in good order — thank you. The Welsh sun made a sustained appearance in time for Fusion media, who took some excellent drone footage, in which Ai has makes it’s YouTube debut.

There’s a lot to do now!

Big news for our other Dr, Ai’s Technical Director; Dr Gareth Bruce. He’s returned from Peru a married man (after some planning — this was no shotgun affair). In lieu of some notorious south American paperwork we’re looking forwards to meeting his now wife.

Following a cracking presentation with the always engaging Henry Bechelet of ICL on the possibilities of Eco-Plug, Gareth also made an appearance in Pro Landscaper, sporting a fine pair of burgundy trousers. Only the few can pull these off so easily.

Meanwhile, Dr Dan Jones has been speaking with some contacts in the US and Canada so we’re quite excited about what’s happening stateside in all things knotweed related. Dan has now exceeded a staggering 4.5k downloads for ‘The Knotweed Paper' on which he is lead author. Not bad for an academic paper of any sort, let alone an ecology one.

We’ve written enough about the paper already, so on to the next big piece of news; a warm welcome to our new Lead Field Trial Officer, the highly talented Iván Martín Dominguez!

Hailing from the Andalusian coastal town of Puerto Real, Iván is a well regarded environmental scientist. Having recently completed his internship with Ai, Iván went straight in to his first week presenting at Invasives Live, giving a summary of his fantastic research project into Himalayan Balsam control and the implications for habitat restoration. As a business we are looking beyond Japanese knotweed, at complementary species and a whole lifecycle approach to invasive plant species management.

Something Iván tries to keep quiet is that he has a former career as a model. From catwalk to field-site, he’s keeping the rugged scientist archetype well and truly alive (his wife Barbara agrees with us).

Business Director Dan Clugston is off to Japan imminently.

We think he’s sitting in a Yotel cabin under Gatwick airport somewhere right now. He’ll be staying in a capsule hotel proper in central Tokyo for a week or so, before learning to surf in the ancient capital of Kamakura. That’s if he can find his way around China for a nine and half hour layover (without a visa?!). Our research is making it’s way to the Japanese Embassy and possibly even Tokyo University.

Dan Jones and Gareth are now looking forward, with some trepidation, to cross-examination training with the always impressive Hardwicke, in late November. Hardwicke’s Andy Creer represented Network Rail in the landmark Williams & Waistell knotweed case. She’s now giving us the inside track on expert witness etiquette and analysis. It’s fascinating to see the knotweed issue from a different angle — legal thinking is increasingly something that shapes our strategic work for clients.

We’ll presenting at Hardwicke’s lovely central London chambers again on November 28th, for round two of the over-subscribed seminar; Knotweed; Law & Practice. We've made some updates to the content from round one following some on the ground fact-finding from some of our surveyor friends.

All in all a pretty busy month or so just gone.

We’re all looking forwards now to the inaugural Ai Christmas bash, at a tidy Greek restaurant hidden away on the outskirts of Cardiff’s student neighbourhood. Gareth is nominated to lead the Ouzo review.

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