Japanese knotweed: Phil Spencer discusses plant
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Chris Davies from South Wales received £6,000 in compensation after Japanese Knotweed was found to be encroaching on his garden. The invasive weed species can cause structural damage to property and can even interfere with drain pipes and grow into small cracks or joints where it can expand and break them. Japanese knotweed can also devalue a property if the infestation is severe.
The plant is most commonly found near railway lines as it used to be deliberately planted to stabilise embankments and surroundings.
In Mr Davies’ case, the plant originated from Network Rail Infrastructure’s railway at the back of his property.
Mr Davies claimed he first noticed the Japanese Knotweed encroaching at the back of his garden in 2019.
The invasive plant is now growing close to his outbuildings which could eventually cause structural damage.
The homeowner sought legal advice from Liverpool-based High Street Solicitors in 2019 who had the knotweed professionally surveyed.
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The surveyor found the Japanese Knotweed to be two metres in height near Mr Davies’ home, and approximately 36m2.
The infestation is also thought to be around 20 years old, with the plant on Mr Davies’ home to be between four and five years old.
The surveyor also noted that they found no evidence of treatment within Network Rail Infrastructure’s land.
In the surveyor’s opinion, Network Rail Infrastructure had also been pulling stems up within their own boundary.
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Mr Davies said when he noticed the Japanese knotweed, he knew it could be “really damaging” to the structure of nearby properties if left untreated.
He then contacted High Street Solicitors for advice on the matter.
He continued: “I’m delighted that High Street Solicitors has dealt with this issue, with my family receiving compensation as well as having the encroaching plant treated to prevent any future damage.
“I’d urge anyone in a similar position to contact them for help.”
Christopher Eccles, a solicitor at High Street Solicitors added: “Summer is the height of Japanese Knotweed season; it’s when the plant will grow more vigorously.
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“Japanese Knotweed poses a risk to the structure of properties, wreaking havoc if it grows and destroys the foundations of homes.
“We’re delighted to have helped Chris and his family receive £6,000 in compensation and have a treatment plan in place from National Rail Infrastructure so that the infestation is destroyed and monitored.
“If you suspect you have Japanese Knotweed encroaching on your home or into your garden, please get in touch and we can advise you further.”
A Network Rail spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Tackling Japanese Knotweed and other invasive species on the railway is a challenge we take very seriously.
“In recent years, we’ve transformed our approach to managing Japanese Knotweed on railway land in Wales.
“This includes working with industry leading experts – and academics from Swansea University – to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, covering the whole of Wales and Borders.”
Signs of Japanese knotweed:
Signs include red or red-brown stems that look a bit like bamboo.
In late August to September, the plant has creamy white flowers that bloom in clusters.
At the height of growing season, it can grow 10cm each day or even up to 20cm at its most prolific.
In 10 weeks, the plant can reach three to four metres in height.
Japanese knotweed rhizomes are what make the plant so invasive.
They are thick and can extend to a depth of three meters and a breadth of seven metres.
The roots have a distinct bright orange centre.
The plant’s canes also have purple flecks and leaves that are in the shape of shovels.
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