BBC story: Japanese knotweed: The plant bringing misery to homeowners

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*This story was originally written by Conor Macauley for the BBC website and the original story can be viewed here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-33203046.

It was about eight years ago when the nightmare started at this north Belfast home.

They had lived there for 18 years but it was only recently that they noticed a rapid growth on a bank behind their property.

It turned out to be Japanese knotweed, an invasive species brought to these shores by 19th century botanists.

It had evolved to survive on the slopes of volcanoes in Japan.

But, over here, it’s getting out of control.

It’s fast-growing and difficult to kill. It can punch through concrete, doing damage to house foundations and drainage.

The species is so destructive that banks are refusing mortgages for those who have it on or near their property.

House fear

The plant is now encroaching into their garden.

The husband has a disability which may mean that the couple could need to move out of their two-storey house.

But now they fear they won’t be able to sell it.

“It’s a huge worry, it really is devastating,” said the lady effected. “We’ve been told that it’s going to affect the value of our house.

“If we need to move to a bungalow or something more suitable, we won’t get this house sold.”

She says it has “taken over” their life and despite letters to numerous bodies, none of them “wants to know”.

The plant is resistant to ordinary methods of weed control – cutting it, digging it up or treating it with normal weedkiller only spreads it further and faster.

Even cutting the grass is a potential problem.

The root, which can grow to a depth of three metres, is considered controlled waste which must be disposed of at a licensed landfill.

Moving soil contaminated with the root without approval is an offence.

Specialist companies will treat it with heavy duty weedkiller but it’s a repeat process that can take up to seven years, and cost several thousand pounds.

Chris Kenton, the environmental spokesperson for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, says Japanese knotweed can jeopardise mortgage applications.

“A number of lenders have identified Japanese knotweed as a ‘decline’ so if a valuer identifies it on the property or even on a neighbouring property, that will cause that mortgage to be declined.”

He said he personally recommended refusal on three properties in the past 18 months because of the plant and he knows of another client whose re-mortgage application was refused because of it.

How Knotweed Services can help

Japanese knotweed continues to be featuring heavily in the news (radio, TV and news papers). The government has recently introduced laws and penalties for those that don’t manage their Japanese knotweed invasion. You can now be fined upto £2500 (£20,000 if you’re a company) and receive an ASBO!!

Discovering Japanese Knotweed on or around your property can be quite distressing. Knotweed Services UK understand that no one wants to be told their property is worth less because of an aggressive weed in their garden however Japanese Knotweed will inevitably devalue your property. Eradicating it yourself would be very difficult and would require lots of time researching the plant properly. It would also require you to purchase expensive equipment, that’s why we strongly suggest using a specialist contractor such as ourselves. We have the professional training and experience to effectively eradicate any Japanese Knotweed infestation.

Knotweed Services UK are PCA approved. The PCA is a government approved trade body for “the damp, waterproofing, wood preservation and invasive weeds industries”. As a member of the PCA we are required to adhere to strict standards in order to receive PCA membership. The application for membership is detailed and thorough. It is for these reasons that any company approved by the PCA can be trusted to provide the most effective solutions for Japanese knotweed removal. To find out more about the PCA please click here.

Please watch the video below to find out the benefits of choosing a PCA approved Japanese knotweed contractor:

If you are trying to sell your property and your surveyor finds Japanese Knotweed on their initial report you are sure to run into problems. The process may be delayed or cancelled all together. This does not have to be the case. In order to sell your property you may need a management plan to be in place; this plan will show that you are dealing with your Japanese Knotweed infestation and that it will not be a problem by the time the plan is completed. We will create a personal management plan for every customer. The plans are very in depth and are backed by our warranty meaning you can sleep easy knowing that your infestation is being taken care of.

If you are a homeowner who has found Japanese Knotweed on or around your property let us know as soon as you can. The sooner we know the sooner we can eradicate your Japanese Knotweed. Or if you are surveyor and need a management plan to be created we can also do this for you, saving you the time.

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