It’s hard to believe that another year has flown by and Japanese Knotweed is starting to grow again…!
So all you readers out there who have been ignoring my ranting about invasive plants, how do you feel now that the mortgage lender Santander has stated that they will ‘…not lend on a property with Japanese Knotweed within 30m of a boundary?’
Japanese Knotweed has the ability to damage hard surfaces. It is capable of damaging building foundations and can crack through concrete…Japanese Knotweed is present in every 10 km square of the UK and grows at a rate of 7 metres in all directions per season.
Feeling nervous yet? Are you listening a bit more?
We have a bit of an ‘in house’ competition every year for who can take the first photograph of developing shoots and this year’s prize went to our Managing Director Mr Alex Dayes who spotted the first signs of new growth on the 18th February this year in Ireland, Leeds and Manchester.
One of the reasons that Japanese Knotweed is so successful is that it gets an early jump on spring growth beating its competitors to grab all the sunlight. It then secretes and enzyme which prevents other plants growth in a strategy called ‘allelopathy’ – pretty amazing stuff really.
So now I have your attention and now you know that the plant is starting to grow again – what are you going to do about it?
Well the UK has some pretty strict rules on what can and can’t be done with Japanese Knotweed infested land. It is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside act (1981) to plant or otherwise cause the plant to grow in the wild. It is also an offence if a land owner allows Japanese Knotweed to grow from his land into an adjacent property.
Case law can be quoted in the majority of Knotweed related legal arguments. One of the most often used situations was ‘Flanagan vs Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council’ in the Leigh County Court. The case was brought by a private landowner whose garden was being invaded by Japanese Knotweed from the neighbouring Council-owned land.
The outcome of the case was that the Council were required to comply with an order to treat a 1 metre strip of Japanese Knotweed along the property boundary for a period of three years with a Glyphosate based herbicide. To prevent further spread, the Council were ordered to install a reinforced concrete boundary wall measuring 0.5 metres wide and 10 m in length to a depth of 1.3 metres. Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council were also liable for the costs of the case.
As legal arguments are costly and time consuming one of the best things that you can do is be pro-active. If you know you have some Japanese Knotweed nearby – on that piece of Council Land – or it’s growing along a nearby stream…make a note, take some pictures – post yourself a letter so that it gets postmarked with the date of when you noticed the problem. If you know who the landowner is then send them a copy of the letter – make a note of where the problem is and how far it is from your property.
If you then do get a problem – for example you want to sell your house but the purchaser cannot get a mortgage – then you have the information to be able to take legal action.
This will save a lot of heartache and a lot of money in legal costs..!
Make 2012 the year you do something about your Knotweed problems so that next year you can relax when Mike Clough starts wittering on again!