Japanese Knotweed – Understanding The Risks

The effects of the plant known as Japanese Knotweed on property are well known amongst Conveyancers and Surveyors.  It can impact upon the saleability of a property and its presence can influence a lender’s decision even if the plant is seemingly away from the boundary.  It is difficult to eradicate and its complicated root structures can reach far beyond what is visible to the naked eye.  It is of particular concern to commercial property owners.

This highly invasive plant has long been known for its notorious ability to grow through concrete and tarmac, exploiting weaknesses in structures and potentially growing through walls, floors and even roads.  Brought to the UK by the Victorians it was able to thrive away from its natural predators in native Japan.  According to official records, there is not a single 6 mile square patch of the Country where it is not present.

This plant species is classed as a “controlled waste” under Part 2 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.  They can only be disposed of at licensed landfill sites as even small cuttings can grow into new root systems.  Japanese Knotweed can have dramatic impacts on property asset values and suitability as lender security.  It can be successfully treated with herbicides but to completely eradicate a crop can take many years and is costly.  It is important to understand the risk ahead of the valuation of a property.

The only comprehensive method is for a surveyor, with specialist Japanese Knotweed expertise, to undertake a site inspection.  It is possible to support the initial investigations of the property with a screening report supplied by a professional conveyancing search provider.  This type of search is for commercial properties and is designed for surveyors, developers and conveyancers and will highlight the lender risks and potential management costs ahead of proceeding to a purchase.

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