PROFILE: Japanese Knotweed – the problems

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    The problems caused by Japanese Knotweed and how to deal with them…

    In the last few years leading experts within the Japanese Knotweed industry working closely with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, major lenders, building societies, the Property Care Association, insurance underwriters and more recently revised Government regulations have combined to both resolve and assist private and public land owners with solutions to Japanese Knotweed infestations.

    The outcome has been the adoption of advice from the RICS which in turn removes the risk identified by lenders and by the Property Care Association Invasive Weed Group members who now have access to 10 year insured treatment policies. This has been followed by Home Office guidance designed to enforce control and to protect property owners from infestation spread from adjoining land i.e. more specific legislation. The guidance explains how Council officers or police can use community protection notices to “stop or prevent” people allowing growth of Japanese Knotweed if it is causing problems. It is important to understand that the public sector are not exempt from this guidance and local government and public sector land has the same obligations as private.

    Individuals who ignore control orders will have committed a criminal offence and can be fined up to £2,500, organisations could be fined up to £20,000.

    We hope that this will lead to improved collaboration between neighbours, local authorities and miscellaneous land owners where cross boundary issues have historically been difficult to resolve. Composite treatment programmes between all parties is the sensible way forward.

    What would we recommend? The first and obvious questions is “Do we need to control or do we prefer to eradicate?”

    Assuming the answer is to eradicate then as with most things seek professional advice but choose wisely.

    If you choose control then compare the cost of continuous control without defined outcome with the induction of professional expertise and peace of mind for at least 10 years.

    There is no singular solution to the problem, it is always dependent upon individual circumstances, usually dictated by other constraints from an infestation in a domestic garden through to a redevelopment programme which requires more immediate actions for the sale of land or a redevelopment proposal with a strict timetable for construction implementation. In the last twelve months we have dealt with a small single stand in a front garden through to a major infestation on a multi-million pound superstore retail development.

    What you should be looking for:

    • Expert site assessment.
    • A follow up report and proposal in the form of a Japanese Knotweed management plan.
    • The plan should include consideration of the options and an explanation as to how the recommended action was arrived at.
    • The plan should include or be accompanied by costs or a programme of costs.
    • If relevant to circumstances you should be offered an appropriate warranty for the work and the option of an insured guarantee.
    • If you accept the Japanese Knotweed management plan and associated costs you should be offered a contract to agree the works with the Japanese Knotweed specialist.

    Experts within the Japanese Knotweed industry such as ourselves will be compliant with adopted code of practice and can offer options for eradication.

    Remember, if you want to know more or simply seek advice then your contact will always be welcomed.

    Guide to Japanese Knotweed: If you would like a free copy of our Guide to Japanese Knotweed please email michael@i-v-m.co.uk to request one.

    Invasive Vegetation Management and Treatment Limited

    0121 366 8916

    www.knotweed-uk.com

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