What are we to do? January 19, 2023

I wasn’t brought up to be a religious person. I did attend church every once in a while but generally came away with thinking …what a load of nonsense. Funerals were another cause of confusion listening to somebody who didn’t know the person being buried explaining that … ‘god has chosen them to be by his side…’ blah blah blah

My parents had a very simple ethos around life which was based around… ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ – which I know is a religious verse – but mum and dad adapted it to fit their life philosophy.

It was pretty simple, but having had it drilled into me from a young age, it became a bit of a mantra of mine. Before I did anything even slightly ‘iffy’ …a voice would go off in my head along the lines of …’how would you like it if that was done to you’ ….and I would stop whatever it was that I was contemplating.

So, shoplifting never happened, apples were not taken, cars were not borrowed and girls were treated with the utmost respect.

I think this is a pretty good philosophy to live by and often when watching films I replay the saying to myself – particularly when some thug is giving a beating to somebody smaller than him – i think to myself… ‘he’s going to get what’s coming to him …’

I’m pretty sure if this were made into a legal requirement the world would be a better place.

Thieves would think twice before breaking and entering somebodies house if they knew that their own house would then be broken into and all their belongings taken.

Politicians wouldn’t fiddle their expenses if they knew that their indiscretions would then be meted out to equal value on them by their staff.

The Prime Ministers wife wouldn’t fiddle her tax affairs if she knew that this would come back and haunt her.

Royal family members wouldn’t abuse under age girls if they knew that the same would happen to their children.

People who push in front of you in a queue would then be jumped in front of by others making their progress wasted.

Terrorists and bombers – if you blow up people’s houses and families then your houses and family* will be blown up. (* ok ok …bit extreme)…

Just saying.


Mike C

Insurance Backed Guarantees – Gaps in Provision January 18, 2023

It’s frustrating that I end up speaking so often about insurance-backed guarantees (IBG), instead of being able to focus on the great work our teams do remediating Japanese knotweed and other invasive species on site and the progress we are making on integrated pest management and environmental goals.

However, we have to accept that particularly for housebuilders and homeowners, IBGs are often the key part of our offer from a client’s point of view, and we want to point out a potential gap in some contractors’ provision.

It’s worth understanding that IBGs are not something that is particularly required because of the nature of the plant, or the damage it causes; they’re not required because of JKSL. IBGs are required because of banks, who generally require any mortgage to be covered by a Japanese knotweed management plan, backed by the security of an IBG.

The IBG covers only the risk of the company becoming financially insolvent and being unable to meet its obligations. With some policies, this cover starts from day one; with most policies, the cover starts after the successful completion of the recommended treatment plan.

Currently, JKSL is aware of only three providers of new IBGs in the market at this time – QANW (formally GPI) , Sennocke and Lloyds of London. There are a number of providers who have offered policies in the past, which are still valid, but these providers have now closed their schemes and are not accepting new business.

Performance bonds are also available, but tend to be more applicable to commercial projects; these may be available from a variety of insurers but they are different in wording and costs from an IBG and may well not satisfy a mortgage lender.

There are other reasons to have an IBG but JKSL already offer solutions for these concerns – if you are concerned about paying money for treatments and losing out if a client ceases trading, then payment plans and BondPay are both possible solutions – however, a bank or purchaser will often insist that the programme is paid for in full up front.

If you are concerned about growth occurring after the end of a recommended treatment plan (which is rare, but does happen), then JKSL can provide costs for additional visits and information about the likelihood of recurrence and the numbers of additional visits which generally take place – this may be a more attractive option than paying up front for an IBG (although there is an element of chance involved and either option could end up more expensive depending on how things pan out).

What JKSL can’t do is to provide advice on which product is right for your needs – this is because advice on financial products can only be provided by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) approved companies – generally insurance brokers, mortgage lenders and other similar organisations.

So, to the main point of this blog: where a policy requires a period of two years with no regrowth, there is a potential gap in provision. The gap does not come directly from the IBG, but from a blind spot in some contractors’ provision which means that if the treatment plan is not successful at achieving two years no regrowth within the proposed time frame, some contracts do not specifically state what will happen and critically, who will pay for any additional visits required.

Japanese Knotweed Solutions will ensure that where a treatment plan with an IBG is taken out, visits are covered up to the point of ensuring two years of no regrowth.

When comparing quotes, is worth ensuring that the proposal you have received would provide this level of cover – as otherwise you can potentially be stung for additional unforeseen costs, or even risk not being covered by the IBG that you have paid for.

As always, JKSL will be upfront with all of our clients about what is required, what is recommended and what provisions will be included in any contract.

Speak to one of our team today to find out how we can help you.


Chris Oliver

Operations Manager

Components Shortage ….it’s all Bo***x January 3, 2023

A few years ago I was in the market for a mid-range Audi for one of the team at work.

I discussed prices with the sales representative with my focus being on a pre-owned car. The rep then explained that due to ‘bonus incentives’ paid on the purchase of a new vehicle, it was actually cheaper for me to buy a new car.

Think about that for a minute.

It’s cheaper to buy a new car than a pre-owned one.

Now forgive me … but isn’t there a flaw in the plan here?  Are we not going to get flooded with pre-owned cars that nobody wants?

For a couple of years this system bobbed along nicely as more and more new cars were sold, everybody was getting a good deal and the car manufacturers were hitting their targets.

The upper echelons of the car industry were getting their bonuses and everybody was happy.

But …more and more second-hand cars were stacking up on the forecourts of these garages.

The senior guys then all started to retire with their bonuses intact.

New management came in and low and behold they realised …we’ve got a problem here.  How can we increase the market value of all this second-hand stock?


“I know”…. somebody said.


“Why don’t we say there’s been a ‘component shortage’ and that parts are unavailable for new vehicles”.


“We can take a hit on new sales because the second-hand market will go through the roof”.


“Then we’ll increase the price of new cars and create a huge demand that creates waiting lists and price wars with cars selling over and above list price”.

The accountants signed off on the new strategy and we’ve all fallen for it.

Just saying.


Mike C