Japanese knotweed is growing, and its discovery strikes fear in the heart of homeowners up and down the country.
It is one of the world’s most invasive plants, it’s root system and strong growth can damage property foundations and effect your ability to sell your home or obtain a mortgage. It can also effect the value of your property with treatment needing to take place over a number of years.
So, what can you do if you discover the presence of Japanese knotweed? Firstly, you will need specialist treatment and to seek legal advice straight away. The Environment Agency have published guidance on this issue which illustrates its seriousness. For example, simply digging it out of your garden will not get rid of it and could well be a criminal offence. The advice can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prevent-the-spread-of-harmful-invasive-and-non-native-plants
The recently reported Court case of Williams & Waistell v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd  involved the claimant’s bringing a private nuisance claim against Network Rail. The claimant’s gardens bordered a railway embankment which had been infested with knotweed over a long period of time and had persistently spread to their land.
There was no evidence that the knotweed had physically damaged the presence of the property, but the court did conclude that the knotweed had encroached onto their land. The result of this is that the knotweed had interfered with the quiet enjoyment of the property and there had been a diminution in its value.
Network Rail had failed to take reasonable measures to prevent the interference and the claimants were awarded compensation for the following:
-cost of Japanese knotweed surveys and treatment programmes with insurance-backed guarantees,
-residual diminution in value of the property after the treatment had occurred
-general damages for loss of amenity and interference with quiet enjoyment.
This case illustrates the problems facing Network Rail. They manage approximately 20,000 miles of track across the UK and many people own homes or land that border a railway embankment. Homeowners are understandably concerned about the impact of Japanese knotweed on the value of their property and it is very difficult to get Network Rail to deal with it properly. If the knotweed has spread from neighbouring land onto your property, then you will need to take legal advice.
The litigation team at JPS Walker Solicitors can help you claim compensation if you are experiencing problems with Japanese Knotweed. Our solicitors are experts in these types of claims and can guide you through the entire process, ensuring you have specialist advice every step of the way. We offer to handle your claim under a No Win No Fee agreement so there is no financial risk to you.
Call us now for free, impartial advice on 0161 713 5575 or complete our online enquiry form to discuss your claim with a member of our team.