February 2017 has seen Network Rail lose a legal case brought against them as a result of allowing Japanese knotweed to spread from their land onto the claimants neighbouring private property in Maesteg, South Wales. The court ruled that the claimant had suffered a loss of enjoyment (loss of amenity use) and devaluation of the property due to the presence of knotweed. Network Rail are now set to pay the claimant a monetary sum to cover these losses and provide a treatment programme with guarantee for the knotweed.
This ruling may become a landmark case for issues of knotweed encroachment and could have huge implications for Network Rail. It is reputed that 1/3 of land in the UK is neighboured by Network Rail land (which can unwittingly serve as a corridor for the spread of this invasive weed) that could leave them facing claims totalling many millions of pounds.
If you believe you are the victim of encroachment by knotweed from an adjacent property (such as network rail property) you can pursue the landowner and sue for damages. Japanese Knotweed Ltd can help you and suggest the following course of action:
- Ask us to visit the property and undertake a specialist survey so that we can confirm whether or not knotweed is encroaching into your property. Our surveys are free (if no knotweed is found, a charge of £120 plus VAT is applied for the report).
- We will send the survey and a brief report to a specialist knotweed claims solicitor who will be able to confirm if they can take the case on as "no win, no fee".
- We will also provide the solicitors with a proposed remediation package known as a Knotweed Management Plan (KMP) according to our findings. The KMP is likely to be for a period of at least 10 years and include for; herbicide treatment and an Insurance Backed Guarantee.
- We may also recommend installation of a vertical root barrier if it looks unlikely that the landowner (with the source of the knotweed problem) can be relied upon to treat the knotweed on their own property; if they don’t it will simply grow and keep encroaching.
- The solicitors will consider the loss of enjoyment of the property and the diminution of the value of your property so that compensation for this can be claimed. If full compensation is not awarded and the defendant fails to eradicate the problem you may be able to claim for the full loss of the property value.