Landmark Japanese Knotweed court case, against Network Rail, is successful!!!!


Netwrok rail Japanese Knotweed picture©Copyright Roger Kidd and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It is no longer a secret that the presence of Japanese Knotweed can pose significant problems for individuals and organisations, both legally and financially…. And if some reason you weren’t aware of this…

  1. Where have you been?
  2. Count yourself lucky that you have not encountered Japanese Knotweed

The presence of this invasive plant on a property or even in close proximity to a property (ie, on neighbouring property) creates extreme difficulties for people wishing to sell their property and for buyers, wishing to secure mortgage finance.

Given the problems people face securing mortgages and coupled with the potential damage that Japanese knotweed can do, both structurally and to the value of properties, it is no wonder that individuals are left traumatized, feeling like they have nowhere to turn.

Despite the fact that Japanese Knotweed is such a serious problem for so many homeowners, there has, until recently, been no legal cases on ‘Japanese Knotweed and property owners’ responsibilities to their neighbours’.


On February 2nd 2017, Charles Lyndon (A London based Law Firm) successfully brought a case against Network Rail on behalf of the owner of a house bordering the Network Rail embankment.

“Mr Waistell had bought a property in Maesteg, South Wales, in 2012 shortly after his wife died, but deciding that he wished to see out his final years in Spain, attempted to sell the property in 2013.

It was during the course of trying to sell his property that Mr Waistell discovered that there was over 600 square metres of knotweed on the railway embankment to the back of his bungalow and that no lender would lend against the property. This, in effect, meant that Mr Waistell was unable to sell his property.

In order to sell his property at market value, Network Rail would need to instruct a competent contractor to treat the knotweed and ensure that the treatment programme was supported by an insurance-backed guarantee.

Despite asking Network Rail to comply with this requirement, they failed to assist Mr Waistell and have only treated the knotweed 3 times since 2012 two of which treatments were at completely the wrong time of year.

Having no joy on his own Mr Waistell turned to Charles Lyndon to assist him. The case was heard in Cardiff between 28-30 November 2016 and judgment was handed down on 2 February 2017.

Recorder Grubb found that Mr Waistell had successfully made out his claim in private nuisance against Network Rail. It was found that not only had Mr Waistell’s property suffered from encroachment, but also that the mere presence of knotweed on Network Rail’s land was an actionable interference with the use and enjoyment of Mr Waistell’s land.

As a result, Mr Waistell was awarded damages for the cost of treatment and the residual diminution in value of his property after the treatment had been carried out.”

– Charles Lyndon Law Firm 2017

The significance of this case against Network Rail is that it holds all landowners to account and imposes a duty on them to ensure that any Knotweed that is on their property is not preventing neighbouring landowners from being able to sell their property for the correct market value.

It also clearly demonstrates that those failing to comply with this obligation (in this case Network Rail and the Japanese knotweed growing on their rail lines) will now result in awards for damage for the cost of treatment of the Japanese Knotweed and any residual diminution of value.


Whilst Charles Lyndon (click here to visit their website) can take control of the legal aspect; Knotweed Services (UK) Ltd can help all homeowners take control of the Japanese Knotweed:

  • Knotweed Services (UK) Ltd is a specialist, PCA approved, Japanese Knotweed company
  • Knotweed Services (UK) Ltd specialise in the identification, treatment and control of Japanese Knotweed.
  • Knotweed Services (UK) Ltd conduct Japanese Knotweed surveys and offer 5 year treatment/management plans to control Japanese Knotweed.
  • Knotweed Services (UK) Ltd take full responsibility of the Japanese Knotweed infestation, making buying & selling property easier. We provide all the documentation lenders/purchasers require.
  • As a PCA approved contractor, treatment plans are fully compliant with industry standards and are recognised by banks and building society’s to allow lending against a property.
  • As members of the PCA, all our services are reinforced by a PCA approved ten year warranty.
  • Clients also have the option of purchasing a ten year Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG provided from GPI insurance company).

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