A recent Court of Appeal Judgment has given a firm warning to owners of land that contains Japanese Knotweed.
The plant, which has been in the country for over a century, is abundant in green spaces, but causes severe problems for landowners when it encroaches upon built up areas. It has been known to be capable of extremely damaging growth and is able to penetrate tarmac, brick and even concrete foundations. To make matters worse, it is infamously difficult to get rid of; the cost and time incurred for those that attempt to do so can put people off to the extent that they may leave the plant unchecked and hope for the best. The recent judgment in Williams v Network Rail shows that this is a dangerous and foolhardy path to take. In this case, Network Rail was found responsible for the damage caused by Japanese Knotweed to two neighbouring properties and was ordered to pay damages.
Knotweed has caused many problems in conveyancing transactions as prospective buyers are understandably averse to purchasing a property where they will have to address the costly, difficult and now potentially litigious problem that the plant poses.
This case should act as a strong caution to all landowners to ensure Japanese Knotweed is either maintained, treated or removed to avoid damage to your own or neighbouring properties and/or land.
If you have Japanese Knotweed on your property and it has caused damage to neighbouring property, or conversely, if your property is being encroached upon by Japanese Knotweed, please contact Lucy Penfold of our Litigation team who has a wealth of experience in Property Litigation for further advice.