Japanese Knotweed

Government responds to the paper published by the Science and Technology Committee on Japanese Knotweed and the Built Environment's Tags

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Government responds to the paper published by the Science and Technology Committee on Japanese Knotweed and the Built Environment

Published 18 September 2019

Following the Committee’s paper of 16 May 2019, the Government has welcomed the Committee’s findings, agreeing that Japanese knotweed (“JK”) may have been disproportionately singled out above other invasive plants and that an evidenced-based approach is required. In addition, the Government has confirmed that: 

• The Environment Agency will convene a meeting in early Autumn 2019, with the major national JK remediation firms to explore how a national dataset could be assembled and how companies could contribute to this on an ongoing basis;

• It will consider including the impact of invasive species on a range of environments in Defra’s Areas of Research Interest database;

• Defra will commission a study on international approaches to JK in the context of property sales and report by the end of the year;

• As there is already a route to resolution for home buyers whose sale is affected by JK through the relevant ombudsman, no additional guidance is required.

The Government also notes that DEFRA is funding a biological control programme through the release of a psyllid insect to tackle Japanese knotweed and that research is underway into the use of leaf-spot fungus as a mycoherbicide to control the knotweed.

Accordingly it would appear that a transition to an evidence-based approach to dealing with JK is very much on the agenda and further updates should be available over the next three months. This is moving in the right direction for surveyors, lenders and homeowners alike but sadly not at a pace which is likely to impact on the conduct of existing claims of this type. Equally RICS can be expected to postpone any fresh guidance until the government agencies have concluded the proposed deliberations. Light at the end of the tunnel in so far as future clarity is concerned.

 

Science and Technology Committee Paper

Government's response

 

Authors

Duncan Greenwood

Duncan Greenwood

Leeds

+44 (0)113 251 4760

Polly McBride

Polly McBride

Bristol

+44 (0)117 918 2723

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