Conveyancers beware as knotweed season approaches

In 19th century Britain, Japanese knotweed was introduced as an ornamental plant from Asia. However, due to a lack of natural predators in our environment, it didn’t take long for the knotweed to escape from Victorian gardens and begin its destruction through the UK.

May is the start of the Japanese knotweed growing season where the plant can grow at a rate of up to a metre a month, engulfing any other plant in its path, restricting visibility and increasing the risk of flooding. The underground stems (Rhizomes) are capable of diving down into the ground to a depth of 3 metres. It’s extremely strong composition can rupture tarmac, concrete, and buildings causing expensive repairs for the owner of the property and a reduction in land value.

It is estimated that the difficult removal and treatment of Japanese knotweed costs the UK economy approximately £150 million a year.

Japanese knotweed is not just a threat to residential properties and their house prices, but can also badly affect the development and maintenance of commercial property and affect your client’s ability to get a secured loan or insurance.

We are able to provide your client with a comprehensive search on potential Japanese knotweed locations within their designated search area, how to identify the plant and how to treat the infestation appropriately.

If your client purchases the commercial property and does have to get the knotweed removed, then the Environment Agency has provided a Code of Practice in respect of the disposal of infested soil on development sites. If this is not followed then this may leave your client open to a possible criminal and or civil sanction. It is also your client’s duty to prevent its escape onto adjoining wild land, as a failure to comply could result in a fine and or an imprisonment for up to two years.

In January new EU regulations came into effect, empowering government agencies to issue Control Orders to remove the weed from specified areas which include derelict sites, construction sites and neighbouring properties, at your clients’ cost.

Currently there is no legal obligation to declare to anyone (including any potential purchaser) that knotweed is existent on your land. It is therefore imperative that if your client is worried about a potential infestation of Japanese knotweed on a site they are purchasing that you contact Conveyancing Data Services to enable us to protect your client from the risks associated with Japanese knotweed.

Prices start from £78.00 for up to 5 hectares of land.

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