Many non-native plant species occur in in the UK without causing any problems – the above image show the Japanese Knotweed plant.
A few plant species can become invasive due to a range of factors, including the absence of a natural predator or the presence of a more suitable climate or habitat type.
If these plants are allowed to grow outside a property, some can lead to an offence being committed, they may cause huge property damage, and will most likely make the property un-mortgageable.
Threat to biodiversity - An invasive plant or weed can upset the balance of the ecosystem. They are often bigger, faster-growing or more aggressive than native species and may take over the habitat where they grow.
Prevent the spread
There are several steps you can take to stop the spread of invasive plants:
- know what is growing in your garden – you can get help identifying invasive plants
- manage and control invasive species where they occur on your land
- dispose of all plant waste responsibly – it is illegal to plant or cause the spread of many invasive plant species so be careful when disposing
- know what you are buying – avoid buying plants or seeds known to be invasive
- when buying a property, make sure you do a plant survey.
Source – Fantastic Garneders
Japanese knotweed has been described by the Environment Agency as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”.
It can grow to 3-4m in just 10 weeks – the equivalent of two grown adults. Underground, its roots – or rhizomes – can quickly spread 7m horizontally and will compromise the structure of buildings.
Mortgage brokers acknowledge that the problem of securing mortgages on properties affected by the plant has escalated in recent years, despite the fact that it has been around in the UK since the 19th century.
If a bank’s valuer finds evidence of it, or there is a history of it in the area, a specialist survey will be required. Lenders can become quite hysterical and over-react. The bank may not lend, or may retain part of the loan.
The removal, eradication and disposal of the weed may be expensive, but given that the presence of it can impede the sale of a property and/or affect the value, a the best approach would be to have it removed as soon as possible by licensed contractors and properly disposed of.
If your neighbour has Japanese knotweed on their land, it is not an offence for Japanese knotweed to be present on your neighbour’s land, but allowing it to encroach onto your property may constitute a private nuisance under common law.
A landowner affected by knotweed growth from a neighbouring property may therefore be able to apply to court for an injunction requiring the neighbouring owner to abate the nuisance.
Such a claim can also include a sum of money in damages to reflect the cost of any physical damage to the property and/or the diminution in value of the landowner’s property as a result of the nuisance.
How to identify, control and dispose of plants that can harm livestock and the environment – see here
For information on dealing with this problem see here©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law; always seek professional advice. Legislation changes, so check dates on these articles. If you have questions go to the LandlordZONE® Forums