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Government committee calls for research into Japanese knotweed’s effects

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16/05/2019
The UK is the worst affected country in the world and, as a result, the leader in Japanese knotweed eradication

The government’s Science and Technology Select Committee is calling for more academic research to establish the impact of the Japanese Knotweed on the built environment.

The Committee revealed that the approach to Japanese knotweed is ‘overly cautious’. Knotweed is expensive to remove and it may be difficult to buy and sell a house with the problem.

It also recommended a study of international approaches to Japanese knotweed commissioned by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the context of property sales to further inform discussions on the issue, and report by the end of the year.

Nic Seal, founder and managing director of Environet, said that lenders are right to be cautious when it comes to lending on properties affected by Japanese knotweed, bearing in mind the damage the plant can cause and the difficulty entailed in killing or removing it.

He added: “Personally, I think most lenders have their policies about right, although I’d agree the 7m rule is a somewhat blunt measure that could be improved. If the plant is in a location that is judged to threaten the property, or that of the neighbours, then it should be professionally treated, preferably with a 10-year insurance-backed guarantee.

The UK is probably the worst affected country; we’re not aware of any other country putting restrictions on mortgages due to knotweed, but that is why their knotweed industries are non-existent or in their infancy.

“The UK is considered to lead the world in knotweed eradication. More public money for Defra research? I’m not convinced it’s necessary, instead let’s continue to lead the fight against knotweed to protect home-owners and lenders from this aggressive and destructive plant.”

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