Japanese Knotweed now deemed that encroachment by the species is claimable in court.
Japanese knotweed is an invasive species of plant that has plagued the UK for several decades. The pernicious weed is bamboo like in its structure with thick walled, but hollow stems. In the winter, it dies back into the ground but it rapidly grows up to 2.1m in height in peak summer creating a dense, but admittedly aesthetically pleasing foliage. It can be self spreading, but it's rhizomes can also be carried on trains, along canals and even in garden waste. It has been claimed that a root weighing just 0.7g can produce a new plant and its not easy to get rid of. Now, you could have more than just the problem of how to get rid of it...
Thanks to a court case involving two neighbours and network rail, which involved the invasive species encroaching from Network Rail's land onto the gardens of two landowners, resulted in the neighbours being awarded compensation.
Therefore, if you feel that you may have Japanese Knotweed on your property, it's best to get an expert's advice or you could be facing a lawsuit from your neighbours.
Admittedly, (according to Rodger Burnett, of Charles Lyndon, the law firm that represented one of the neighbours) though the ruling means that a householder could sue their neighbour if Japanese knotweed encroached onto their land, it would be larger companies like Network Rail who would have the greatest concerns.
Announcing the decision on Tuesday, Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton said: "Japanese knotweed, and its roots and rhizomes, does not merely carry the risk of future physical damage to buildings, structures and installations on the land."
"Its presence imposes an immediate burden on landowners who face an increased difficulty in their ability to develop, and in the cost of developing, their land, should they wish to do so, because of the difficulties and expense of eradicating Japanese knotweed from affected land.
"In this way, Japanese knotweed can fairly be described as a natural hazard which affects landowners' ability fully to use and enjoy their property and, in doing so, interferes with the land's amenity value."
However the judge said that the homeowners in this unprecedented case would not be entitled to damages because the knotweed had reduced the value of their properties.
At SMW (Tree) Consultancy Ltd, we are very familiar with this invasive species, so if you are unsure if you have Japanese Knotweed on your property, it's best to give us a call and we'd be happy to assist you in which ever way we can.
Call 01276 385 65 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org