The Jeremy Vine Show (Radio 2) ran a feature on Japanese knotweed on Thursday 20th November 2014.
Labour MP Alan Whitehead tried to defend the government’s new trick of applying ASBO legislation to Japanese knotweed. He didn’t exactly establish himself as an authority on the subject when he began by referring to it as ‘Japanese knotWOOD’
I’ve made my view known on previous blogs, i.e. that an ASBO is an unnecessary ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’. There is already perfectly good law in place that gives both neighbours and local authorities the stick to make landowners tackle their Japanese knotweed. With our assistance, our clients use it successfully in cases of Japanese knotweed encroachment and misrepresentation. Putting an ASBO on a landowner will not make that landowner tackle the knotweed in the most effective way – at best one could expect a half-hearted attempt to do something to satisfy the ASBO at the least possible price. That won’t help the victim of encroachment. Sadly, too many councils across the UK mis-manage their own knotweed, allowing it to spread into private gardens, affecting house sales. Granting these same councils powers to issue ASBO’s and fines, seems to us the height of hypocrisy and completely wrong.
In much of the recent media coverage an ‘expert’ is rolled out who provides ill-informed DIY advice. One radio commentator said you could go down to the local DIY shop, buy yourself some herbicide, apply it to the knotweed, and hey presto. He said this would make it dormant, so you would expect it to grow back in 3 years. That’s not what we call eradication!
In my view that was an extremely irresponsible message to put across, because what he didn’t say was, that once you’ve tried such a DIY attempt at eradication, which by his own admission is bound to fail, you’ll find it very difficult to get any specialist worth their salt to provide any form of insurance backed guarantee. And without any insurance backed guarantee you’ll find it very difficult to sell your property, unless you discount the price big time. Having a go at killing your knotweed will not satisfy banks/building societies or interested buyers. It’s not much better than attempts at concealment.