Ask the Expert
By Steve Moir Director at Hennings Moir in Saltash, tel 01752 850440
- Is Japanese Knotweed really as big a problem as it is made out to be?
- Japanese Knotweed was introduced into the UK in the mid 19th century and can be extremely invasive if not properly controlled. In theory, it is capable of doing serious damage to buildings, lifting concrete and undermining walls and foundations if left to its own devices and it has long been a criminal offence to deliberately plant it in the wild.
However, you are perfectly entitled to grow Japanese Knotweed in your garden if you wish; you just can’t let it spread beyond the boundaries of your own property. In fact, anti-social behaviour rules apply to a homeowner who lets the plant get out of control, under new Home Office guidance. So, if you find Japanese Knotweed invading your garden from next door, you can now make an official complaint to the local authority and/or the police. If the neighbour responsible ignores an order to control the plant, they will be committing an offence resulting either in an on-the-spot fine of £100 or prosecution, which could bring a £2,500 fine.
Surveyors hate the stuff, so much so that mortgages have been refused on properties where it has been spotted growing – even in a next door garden.
And yet there is some doubt whether Japanese Knotweed really deserves such a villainous reputation. Despite all the sensationalist headlines about this ‘alien invasion’, it actually grows quite happily in many gardens without causing any problems at all. And it isn’t the only plant capable of damaging buildings – in fact, more damage is probably caused by Ivy, Buddleia and Wisteria – but as far as I’m aware, nobody has ever been refused a mortgage because of them.
Nevertheless, whether it’s a case of over-hyped hysteria or not, if you have Japanese Knotweed growing in your garden I would strongly recommend you take the necessary steps to get rid of it, particularly if you decide to put your home on the market. Better to be safe than sorry!
Steve Moir is Director of Hennings Moir Estate Agents who have been trading in South east Cornwall for over 30 years an Also Chairman of the Experts in Property a computer linked network of 80 estate agents covering the South West and in London
Steve Moir 01752 850440
Hennings Moir 136c fore St Saltash Pl12 6JR