Need to control Japanese knotweed grows
Following a landmark court ruling, property professionals are being urged to implement plans to effectively control Japanese knotweed.
In the recent case, the invasive weed spread from land owned by Network Rail and caused damage to property, resulting in compensation for damages being ordered by the court.
For owners of public land, experts have stated that the decision has the potential to completely change the legal landscape.
It all began when the Japanese knotweed found growing on the embankment of a railway had spread to the foundations of properties close by.
Residents nearby in South Wales stated that the value of their homes had declined due the presence of the weed, which is commonly noted for its destructive tendencies.
Along with the cost of treating the issue, Network Rail was ordered to pay compensation in what is being called a test case.
Highlighting the likelihood of the judgements’ implications was the Property Care Association (PCA). The national trade body, who represent professionals in the invasive weed control industry, stated that the ruling was likely to encourage homeowners in similar situations to take action. The PCA also encouraged large landowners to be alert to the dangers of the weed.
Chief executive of the Association, Steve Hodgson stated: “This landmark ruling is one that could change the landscape for those responsible for tracts of public land such as local authorities, rail operators, developers and many more.
“Japanese knotweed is a destructive plant that can have a hugely damaging effect on the urban environment and any knotweed or other invasive species growing on their land could potentially spread to neighbouring properties.
“Homeowners living adjacent to public land could now be emboldened to take action too, so this puts the onus on squarely on landowners to control and remediate any issues, particularly near houses, as soon as they come to light.”
The Association also stress the importance of appointing professionals who are competent and are able to properly evaluate situations, create suitable plans and provide work based on this.
Mr Hodgson went on to state: “The species can be identified and treated with minimal impact, but its effective eradication is a job for the experts and I’d urge anyone who thinks they might have an issue to seek professional advice.”
The Invasive Weed Control group was set up in 2012 by the PCA, in order to provide and source trained and competent consultants and contractors.
As well as assuring expertise in the management and control of various invasive species, membership of the group demonstrates competence to deliver treatment which is effective, efficient and reliable.
A Code of Practice for the management of knotweed has also been created by the PCA, which contributes to their work in raising the standards in the area; all members must adhere to this Code.
The PCA have also produced technical guidance notes which include a useful member guide. As well as providing a wider picture of the main issues regarding the weed, it also contains a training portfolio on in relation to managing knotweed.
The guide also caters for a variety of different audiences and includes training courses for both professionals interested in the subject – such as local authorities and landowners – as well as those within the invasive weed industry.