Japanese knotweed menace leads to legal threat against Swansea Council

June 1, 2015 | 2:00 pm

A RESIDENT is threatening to take legal action against the council over its response to the menace of Japanese knotweed.

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Tony Johnstone says knotweed is encroaching on to his 86 year-old mother’s property in Vivian’s Row Pantlasau, Morriston.

He first raised the issue with Swansea Council in August 2014 and said the problem was getting worse.

“I am requesting the eradication of this weed because it has now taken hold in the hedgerow on both sides of the road and is encroaching onto my elderly mother’s property,” he said.

“She is in fear of what this weed will do to her property if it takes hold. The presence of this weed either on or in close proximity to any property dramatically reduces the value of the said property and also prevents potential buyers from obtaining a mortgage as building societies are now refusing mortgage applications for properties so affected.

“At my own expense I have taken action to try to keep this weed from invading my mother’s property, and, although I have had some success over the past few years, it is now becoming more difficult to keep it at bay as there is so much of it in the area, both to the side of and directly across the road from her property.”

Mr Johnstone, of Llangyfelach Road, Treboeth, said that he now intends to take legal action against the authority.

“If the council is that hard up that it cannot afford to do the job, just supply me with the right chemicals and spray and I’ll do it for you,” he said. “If they don’t take action on Japanese knotweed the bill will be astronomical.”

The council has now promised to meet him on site.

Last August it introduced a new paid-for service to help residents tackle the problem of Japanese knotweed in their own backyards.

The initiative is part of the council’s Sustainable Swansea: Fit for the Future transformational programme to help the authority become more streamlined and efficient.

A spokesman said: “Japanese knotweed can be found on public and private land across Swansea and is notoriously difficult to eradicate. Our ongoing work aims to slow the growth of it on public land to prevent it spreading. We also offer a treatment service to landowners to help control it on private land. We will be aiming to contact Mr Johnstone and arrange a site visit to look at some of his concerns.”