JMP Solicitors is representing property owners from a North London road who are claiming that the Environment Agency was careless in its treatment of an infestation of Japanese Knotweed in a brook behind their homes, causing the value of their houses to fall by tens of thousands of punds and leaving them in a position where sale is almost impossible.
Ironically, it is the Environment Agency that is the public body responsible for writing the code of practice and field guides for the treatment of what is officially one of the world’s worst invasive plants due to the speed that it spreads. The Agency’s own website states that fines of £5000 or a prison sentence of up to two years can be applied if contaminated soil or plant material from any waste is transferred to spread into the wild.
Householders on the North London street filmed Environment Agency contractors going against their own guidelines and strimming knotweed on their own land indiscriminately. The correct treatment for knotweed is either digging it up or treating it chemically, in strict conditions, by professionals, and disposing of in a licensed landfill. By strimming the knotweed, the clippings may well grow into new plants that can spread up to 20cm in a day.
An expert in this area of law, Samantha Towle of JMP Solicitors, says: “This is an incredibly important action we’re bringing given that the Environment Agency is the body that wrote the code of practice for dealing with knotweed and it is the claimant’s case that they have not followed their own guidance.
“This is likely to be a landmark case with far reaching consequences and our expertise in this area, having won a similar case against Network Rail, allows us to fight the Environment Agency on behalf of individuals and businesses that have been affected by negligence in dealing with the plight that is Japanese Knotweed.”
Mrs Towle adds: “There has been a significant increase in the number of Japanese Knotweed cases in recent years and it is essential that anyone who thinks that they have a claim, contact a reputable firm of solicitors with the necessary expertise. JMP Solicitors has a proven track record following its successful litigation against Network Rail in a high-profile case earlier this year. These cases may well define the law on knotweed for a generation.”
JMP is also acting in other cases against surveyors who have failed to notice knotweed and also people and companies who have sold houses without disclosing that knotweed is present