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Japanese Knotweed

Hey Folks,

Hope you are all well.

I please wondered if anyone is able to help me with this issue i have been having. For several months Network Rail who run a railway near my house has allowed Japanese Knotweed to grow rapidly on their land. I have contacted them multiple times about this but they have not done anything about it.

The weed has now spread severely and it has entered my garden and it has now got severely bad. It has spread rapidly around the railway banking and it has entered my garden at several points. I have contacted Network Rail again and they have offered to spray the weeds, it may take several years to eliminate this completely.

I am completely upset as i have a medical condition and soon want to hopefully sell up and buy a bungalow, as i have trouble with one of my legs. I will not be able to sell my home now, if at all due to this problem. I am sad as if Network Rail had acted sooner, this weed would not have entered my land and would not have taken as long to hopefully treat.

My question is i have asked Network Rail for compensation, but they have declined as they have stated, they are now treating the weed and they cannot be held responsible that the weed has entered my land. Would it be wise to engage a solicitor to try and get some compensation for this and if so are they likely to settle out of court? I really do not want to lose lots of money as i do not have much, if anyone could help i would be grateful.

I am not doing this for the money, but surely due to the misery they have caused their is some legal recourse. Have they declined my compensation request in the hope i do not pursue this further do you think?

Thank you so much for reading my post. Hope to hear from someone soon.

Many thanks,

Kazza

Posts

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,115

    Sorry to hear that Kazza. Big organisations can be an absolute pain to deal with, especially on a personal level.

    With respect to other posters on the forum I think your suggestion of contacting a solicitor is absolutely the right thing to do. They will offer the correct legal advice rather than some well-meaning proposals you may get on here. This is a very serious matter so you need the expert help of those truly in the know.

    There is plenty of reading matter available on the internet and I just came across the following document:

    http://www.warners-solicitors.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/japanese-knotweed-guide-v2.pdf

    Unfortunately page 10 states the following:

    What legal action can my neighbours take against me if knotweed spreads to their land? If it causes nuisance to your neighbours, they could take out civil proceedings against you. However, if you take reasonable steps to fix or reduce the problem, they are unlikely to be successful.

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,538

    As I understand it, it is not illegal for Network Rail to have knotweed growing on their property but it is an environmental protection offence to allow it to spread onto anyone else's land. If you have proof that you notified them (kept copies of letters or emails?) then you'll have a very clear cut case both for compensation and for them to be required to take action to control it. Even if you don't have evidence, the fact that it came from their property and spread onto yours is sufficient for them to be liable.

    There are firms who specialise in advising people on the subject but I suggest in the first instance you contact the Environment Agency, and ask for their advice on who to contact. It's possible that they will take action on your behalf. That would be more likely if any of your neighbours have also been affected.

    It is not necessarily the case that this will affect the sale of your property. Network Rail should be required to enter into a formal agreement to deal with it. You have to declare that it is there, but with a control order enacted and no ongoing cost to you or your buyer to deal with it, it may well be that plenty of people will not be overly concerned. 

    And in answer to your last question yes, probably. They own a lot of land and have a lot of liability so I expect their first response to anyone is 'no' in the hope you'll go away. I suggest you don't. But get it dealt with officially rather than trying to battle them on your own.

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,538

    Crossed with DH there. I think it depends how serious the encroachment is as to whether compensation is payable. The advice above is directed at individuals from whose land the degree of encroachment is always likely to be small. If you just have a small patch of it, you may not get very far looking for money but you should still get a formal agreement from them to deal with it so that your house sale is not affected.

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Sorry to read that Kazza. It sounds stressful.

    Here's an interesting post from a solicitor's website:

    http://www.pardoes.co.uk/blog-entry/2017/06/23/japanese-knotweed-rears-its-head-again-/206/

    Last edited: 29 August 2017 04:49:58

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532

    More than 20 years ago, I was studying biology in France and there was a team doing the same thing. Presumably without success!

  • willbarawillbara Posts: 50

    we had a problem with knotweed mant years ago on our allotment site.

    we got rid of it by cutting the stems and pouring diesel into the hollow stems.

    a few little bits kept coming  back but we slowly eradicated that by digging it out as soon as it appeared and over a period of time it was completely eradicated. 

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