What to do if Your Neighbour has Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed is the most aggressive weeds found in the UK and can grow up to an extraordinary 10cm per day. If left to spread, this hardy bamboo-like plant can rapidly take over land, posing a serious threat to drains and building foundations.
Eradicating Japanese knotweed can be a long and arduous task, which can prove even more stressful when its encroaching from a neighbour’s property onto your own. If you think you have spotted this menacing weed in your neighbouring property, knowing the best course of action to take next is vital.
Japanese Knotweed is Growing in my Neighbour’s Garden – What Should I Do?
The first step is to ensure you have identified the suspected Japanese Knotweed correctly. Whilst it can be difficult to recognise, especially as the rhizome (or root system) can aggressively develop underground, this highly invasive weed has identifiable features which can help you determine whether this plant is in fact Japanese Knotweed.
The most recognisable features of this weed include its heart or shovel shaped leaves, creamy white flowers, which typically develop in late summer, and aggressive zig zag growth pattern. It’s important to be aware that Japanese knotweed changes with the seasons, too. In most circumstances, you can use images to identify what you suspect is Knotweed.
Once you have correctly identified that a suspected infestation is Japanese Knotweed, the next step is to notify your neighbours as soon as possible. Your neighbours may not even be aware that this weed is growing in their garden and the subsequent damage this can inflict if left unmanaged over time. Alerting neighbouring land where Knotweed is growing can make all the difference – this gives landowners a chance to rectify the problem before it causes even more damage.
It is best to notify them in writing, too, so you have record of when you flagged this problem should you need it in the future. You may only take legal action once they have been made aware of the issue and have failed to treat or remove the Japanese Knotweed. If your neighbours fail to act, you may have a legal case.
Can Knotweed Spread from One Garden to Another?
Capable of growing up to 10cm a day in peak season and with the ability to regrow with only a thumb nail’s worth (around 0.2g) of rhizome left, Japanese Knotweed is a highly invasive weed that is extremely difficult to control.
If left, this fast-spreading weed can grow through concrete, around fences and just about anywhere it lays its roots. If you spot Japanese knotweed in a neighbouring property, it is important to act quickly to eradicate the problem and to avoid damage to both properties.
Using an expert such as Japanese Knotweed Specialists is the best way to be assured Japanese Knotweed will be removed. Using highly skilled removal experts and specialist equipment, our team will utilise best practice to stop the spread of any infestation.
Legal Course of Action
Is Japanese Knotweed Illegal?
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to plant or cause Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild. If you allow Japanese Knotweed to spread, you may end up with a fine of £5,000 or even a prison sentence.
Whilst it is not illegal to let this weed grow on your own property, allowing it to spread to neighbouring properties and beyond is an actionable offence. It is your responsibility to stop the spread of Japanese knotweed from your property as this can cause both ecological and property damage if left.
It is the duty of your neighbour to take appropriate action once informed of a Japanese Knotweed invasion.
Does Japanese Knotweed on My Neighbour’s Property Affect the Value of My Home?
As of January 2022, the RICS published new guidance on Japanese Knotweed and what this means for surveyors and homeowners alike. This updated guidance introduces ‘management categories’ rather than ‘risk categories’. These categories detail how different levels of infestation should be treated and subsequently managed.
If you are buying or selling a house, however, it is still strongly advised to get a survey completed by a PCA approved company such as Japanese Knotweed Specialists if you suspect there to be Japanese knotweed. Expert help to eradicate this highly invasive weed is always the best line of action. You will also need to consider completing the TA6 form for Japanese knotweed to inform potential buyers of your property.
How Responsible is my Neighbour for the Spread of Japanese Knotweed?
It is not a legal requirement to remove Japanese Knotweed on your own property, but if it is causing a private nuisance or allowed to be spread into the wild, you may be prosecuted.
Whilst it is not set in law that neighbours are legally required to pay for the treatment of any Knotweed that spreads onto your land, it is their legal responsibility to stop the spread. If the encroachment of Japanese knotweed is causing damage to your property, then you may have a case in making your neighbour pay for treatment on your property.
Planning Your Next Steps
Reaching out to your neighbour to provide them with both the knowledge and opportunity to take action against this highly invasive weed is critical and should be your first priority if you think you’ve spotted Japanese Knotweed growing on their property.
If you are still concerned about a Japanese Knotweed problem affecting your property, please contact us today. Whether it’s simply for advice or to book a survey, we’re here to help.