Invasive Weed

Invasive weed species, such as Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed, cause significant nuisance to land owners and, if left untreated, can result in property damage and personal injury.

Invasive species of weed such as Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed can cause significant damage to both property and health. Certain non-native invasive weeds, such as Japanese Knotweed, are regulated by law and are designated a controlled waste. Subsequently removal or treatment can be expensive.

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

Japanese knotweed, is a large, herbaceous perennial, native to Eastern Asia, Japan, China and Korea. It has hollow stems with distinct raised nodes that give it the appearance of bamboo. Though stems may reach a maximum height of 3–4 m each growing season, it is typical to see much smaller plants in places where they sprout through cracks in the pavement or are repeatedly cut down. It is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s worst invasive species.

The invasive root system and strong growth can damage concrete foundations, buildings, flood defences, roads, paving, retaining walls and architectural sites.

Many mortgage companies will not lend monies against a property that has invasive weeds, such as Japanese Knotweed, on the property or close by. This can render the value of the home to almost zero until the issue has been dealt with and this can cost a substantial sum of money and take several years to accomplish.

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

JAt 20ft tall with dinner table sized leaves Giant Hogweed is an impressive plant that was once planted in gardens. However, it is highly invasive and has spread throughout the whole of Great Britain, primarily favouring river banks but also other areas such as parks, cemeteries and wasteland.

The sap of Giant Hogweed contains toxic chemicals known as furanocoumarins. When these come into contact with the skin, and in the presence of sunlight, they cause a condition called phyto-photodermatitis: a reddening of the skin, often followed by severe burns and blistering. The burns can last for several months and even once they have died down the skin can remain sensitive to light for many years. If contact is made with the eyes it can lead to blindness.

How GESols Can Help

GESols have a specialist invasive weed team who can advise on legal issues in this niche area of law.