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Japanese knotweed can grow up through it. Concrete – It may be strong but not


even Japanese Knotweed can grow through concrete. It normally finds a weak spot, pushes through and then expands as it goes to cause damage. Buildings – If left unchecked for long


enough, Japanese Knotweed can establish itself and wreak havoc on residential and commercial properties. Boundary wall – Again is left unchecked,


Japanese Knotweed will grow with enough force to damage fences and even cause walls to fall. Cavity walls – Japanese Knotweed will


grow up and through vents and air bricks two metres above ground, and once it’s in cavity walls it has the force to push the two skins of the wall apart.


Your legal responsibility


As an FM you have a legal responsibility for the containment and safe disposal of Japanese Knotweed. Failure to control its spread to a neighbouring property can now lead to prosecution and a hefty fine for anti- social behaviour as well. Schedule 9, Section 14 of the Wildlife and


Countryside Act 1981 states that “if any person plants or otherwise causes to grow in the wild any plant which is included in Part 2 of Schedule 9, he shall be guilty of an offence”. (Japanese knotweed is a Schedule 9 listed plant). However, updates to the guidance


documents now specifically name Japanese Knotweed alongside Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed as a source of “serious problems” and state that an individual failing to control the troublesome triffid will have committed a criminal offence.


Indeed, the government has reformed the


Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, so that community protection notices can be used against individuals who are acting unreasonably and who persistently or continually act in a way that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. Meaning if you fail to deal with the problem you could end up with an ASBO! For corporates the cost on non-


compliance can run into the tens of thousands of pounds, indeed we have heard of one case involving just 1sqm of knotweed which resulted in an out of court settlement £50,000. Due to the significant pay outs involved, it is no surprise that lawyers are jumping in on the act and also using private nuisance laws to pursue claims. In 2013, Stephen Williams and Robin


Waistell, two residents in South Wales made a claim against Network Rail, which owned the land immediately behind their properties. Japanese Knotweed had been present for at least 50 years on the land owned Network Rail. The neighbours complained about the encroachment on to their land, and were awarded damages when the judge ruled Japanese Knotweed as a natural hazard affecting landowners’ ability to fully use and enjoy their property. The interesting thing about this case, was that it re-defined the word ‘damage’, in so much as no physical damage had to take place, but merely the presence of just the root in a neighbouring land was classed as damage.


Surveying and Removing Japanese Knotweed


Japanese Knotweed is a difficult and tenacious plant, and getting rid of it can be


a complicated and time-consuming process. If left untreated, it will spread quickly and the damage it can cause to foundations and buildings can be extremely costly. Getting rid of Japanese Knotweed is not


easy, and the best solution is to contact a professional removal company as soon as you have identified it on your property so that an effective maintenance or removal plan can be established. Of course, as Knotweed removal specialists, we would say that! But if you are considering tackling the problem yourself, here are a few things you need to know. Japanese Knotweed can grow up to 10 cm


a day with roots burrowing down as deep as 3 metres. For this reason, it is important to get started on remove it as soon as possible. No infestation of Japanese Knotweed is


the same. Different solutions for removing Japanese Knotweed include herbicide treatment, stem injection, excavating infected areas of ground with machinery, or a Japanese Knotweed root barrier to halt the spread of the irksome weed. Once removed, Japanese Knotweed needs


to be disposed of to ensure it can’t regrow. Off-site burial can be expensive since the soil is classified as controlled waste in the UK, a sifting and screening service removes fragments of the root and rhizomes from the soil, which means less waste and a lower cost.


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