Network Rail under fire over failure to stop spread of Japanese knotweed

More than 11,000 complaints have been made to Network Rail about the spread of Japanese knotweed since 2011.

The company, which owns and runs the UK’s network of rail lines, have received more than 6,000 complaints that the invasive plant, non-native to the UK, is spreading on to private property from Network Rail sites.

The Times made a freedom of information request to Network Rail, which is owned by the taxpayer, to find out the extent of the issue, revealing that the number of complaints grew by 70 percent between 2012 and 2018.

Unchecked because of logistical issues

Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK in the late 19th century, but its extensive roots are known to spread and can block drains, damage the foundations of buildings and break through tarmac.

Its growth along railway tracks has often been unchecked because of logistical issues and because most chemicals don’t deal with the roots.

For homeowners trying to sell their property, the presence of Japanese knotweed in their garden can often make their home impossible to sell, partly because many lenders will not provide a mortgage for a buyer.

Surveyor Local can instruct chartered surveyor

For buyers keen on a property, the most practical way to find out if the plant is present in the garden is to instruct a chartered surveyor to carry out an extensive building survey.

Surveyor Local only works with chartered surveyors who are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, ensuring they have both the expert knowledge to carry out a survey and the backing of the regulatory body to do so.

You can get an instant no-obligation quote for the property survey you need or talk through your requirements with our experienced, friendly team on 0800 038 6667.

Complies with current legislation

Network Rail told the Times it complies with current legislation in dealing with Japanese knotweed across its 20,000 mile rail network.

Neil Strong, the environment manager at Network rail, said: “While we meet our legislative obligations, we believe we should do more.

“We will always treat any knotweed area flagged to us and are working on enhancing our guidance and protocols to be in line with PCA-published codes of practice and thus give the assurance mortgage lenders are looking for.”

Post Author: Frances Traynor