Japanese Knotweed spreading from neighbour's garden - can I make them pay for its removal?
Kieran from Croydon
Plants and Gardens questions and answers
My next door neighbour has Japanese Knotweed in her garden and it has recently now started to spread into my garden. It’s growing quite close to my home and spreading quite quickly – can I make my neighbour pay for it to be removed from my garden and is there any way to stop it from spreading into my garden in the future?
The starting point in a situation where the plant is growing from a neighbour’s property should always be a cup of coffee and a chat. People are still unaware of the problems that Japanese Knotweed can cause and often do not realise the problems caused by its rapid growth. Japanese Knotweed can grow beneath the ground upwards of 7 metres in all directions per season so it will rapidly spread from adjacent property.
We recommend that measurements are taken of Japanese Knotweed on adjacent land – if you are near to a river or railway line or Local Authority land where there is an infestation of Japanese Knotweed – measurements taken over several years can easily prove where the plant originated from. If the case ended up in court this information can be used as evidence.
Yes you can take action against your neighbour (though discussing and being reasonable about this is a preferred option) and yes – you can make them pay to get the plant removed. There are several incidents of people successfully suing adjacent land owners for damage caused by Japanese Knotweed where the losing party has had to pay to have the plant removed and root barriers installed along the boundary line.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is illegal to allow an invasive plant to grow from your property into adjacent land – so you could take action under laws relating to ‘Private Nuisance’. Installing a root barrier can be a useful strategy to prevent growth across a boundary line though we would recommend trying to persuade your neighbour to eradicate the plant. Root barriers will need to be at least 2 metres deep and can be quite difficult to install along boundary lines when space is limited.
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