Locals blast council after ‘rampant’ six foot tall Japanese Knotweed starts creeping towards homes


Japanese knotweed has taken over a park in Worcester and is creeping towards homes like a scene from horror movie ‘The Day of the Triffids’, angry residents claim. 

Locals fear the fast-growing plant which has taken root in Brickfields Park, part of King George V Playing Fields, will decrease the value of their properties, and say the council has repeatedly ignored their pleas for help.

They say the eyesore weed, which has grown to six feet in the park, is invading their homes and needs to be tackled. Some claim it has grown to a mere 20 metres away from their homes. 

Retired gardner, Dennis Hodson lives in a £200,000 bungalow which backs onto the fields which have been overtaken by Japanese Knotweed 

Mr Hodson said he has told council workers and gardeners in the park about the problem, but nothing has been done to tackle it

Mr Hodson said he has told council workers and gardeners in the park about the problem, but nothing has been done to tackle it

Residents fear that the encroaching weed which has taken root in Brickfields Park will lower the value of their properties. Pictured: Dennis Hodson in his garden

Residents fear that the encroaching weed which has taken root in Brickfields Park will lower the value of their properties. Pictured: Dennis Hodson in his garden 

Retired gardener Dennis Hodson lives in a £200,000 bungalow which backs onto the fields. 

The 73-year-old said he has told council workers about the problem, but nothing has been done to tackle it.  

‘The knotweed has gone rampant in the park and it’s coming up in our gardens now, including mine which is just 20 metres away,’ he said. ‘It’s a bit of a nightmare.

‘It’s getting to about six foot tall in the park and I’ve tried calling the council, but they haven’t done anything.

‘The plant is just about to seed which will spread it even further. The time to act is now.

‘I also spoke to groundsmen in the park and they told me it wasn’t anything to do with them. Two or three years ago they used to cut it back, which is never going to get rid of it, but now they’re not even doing that.

‘I managed to remove it from my borders a few years ago using a strong weed killer but it just comes back.’

The invasive weed has grown to six feet in Brickfields Park, which is part of King George V Playing Fields in Worcester

The invasive weed has grown to six feet in Brickfields Park, which is part of King George V Playing Fields in Worcester 

Retired gardener Mr Hodson says the weed is starting to come up in his garden, which is 20 metres away from the park

Retired gardener Mr Hodson says the weed is starting to come up in his garden, which is 20 metres away from the park 

Japanese knotweed is one of the most common invasive plants in the UK. Mr Hodson said the plant is about to seed and that action needs to be taken now

Japanese knotweed is one of the most common invasive plants in the UK. Mr Hodson said the plant is about to seed and that action needs to be taken now

Another resident described the ongoing issue as 'a scene from The Day of the Triffids' as the plant starts to encroach on their homes and gardens

Another resident described the ongoing issue as ‘a scene from The Day of the Triffids

WHAT IS JAPANESE KNOTWEED? THE NOTORIOUS PLANT THAT CAN DESTROY BUILDINGS

Japanese Knotweed is a species of plant that has bamboo-like stems and small white flowers.

Native to Japan, the plant is considered an invasive species. 

The plant, scientific name Fallopia japonica, was brought to Britain by the Victorians as an ornamental garden plant and to line railway tracks to stabilise the soil.

It has no natural enemies in the UK, whereas in Asia it is controlled by fungus and insects.

In the US it is scheduled as an invasive weed in 12 states, and can be found in a further 29.

It is incredibly durable and fast-growing, and can seriously damage buildings and construction sites if left unchecked.

The notorious plant strangles other plants and can kill entire gardens. 

Capable of growing eight inches in one day it deprives other plants of their key nutrients and water. 

 

Another resident described the ongoing issue as ‘a scene from The Day of the Triffids.’ 

They said the recent hot weather and subsequent heavy rain may be to blame for the invasive plant growing out of control in the park and beginning to creep towards the properties nearby.  

‘The knotweed just keeps getting closer and closer to our homes,’ they said. 

‘It’s like a scene from The Day of the Triffids and the mixture of the very hot weather and then heavy rain has just made it grow out of control.

‘The council do nothing to help and we all worry about the impact it’s having on the value of our homes.

‘I certainly wouldn’t want to buy a house which is at risk of being taken over by this thing.’

Japanese knotweed is one of the most common invasive plants in the UK.

The plant, which was introduced to the UK from Japan in 1825, can grow up to 10cm a day and cause damage to buildings and infrastructure if it is not trimmed back and left unchecked. 

Once established, the weed can be extremely difficult to get rid of, so much so that experts treat the cuttings as licensed hazardous waste.

Having the weed on a property can make it notoriously difficult for homeowners to secure a mortgage or sell the property on. 

It can also strangle other plants and can be responsible for killing off entire gardens when it has taken hold. 

Capable of growing eight inches in just one day, the weed kills other plans by depriving them of the nutrients and water they need to survive. 

Local Authorities are only required to remove knotweed that has taken hold on land that they own. People who have knotweed growing on their property will need to remove it themselves. 

The weed is so damaging that it is legislated against in the Wild Life and Countryside Act 1981, stating that it is an offence to plant or cause the weed to grow in the wild. 

It states that anyone convicted of the offence of planting Japanese Knotweed or other plants outlined in schedule nine of the act may face a fine of £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment. 

Other plants on the list include Giant Knotweed and Hybrid Knotweed.  

A spokesperson for Worcester City Council said specially-trained staff will be attending the playing fields in the coming days to attempt to tackle the problem. 

They added that follow-up treatments to eradicate the plant from the area will be undertaken next month (August) and a second will be administered next year.  

‘We are aware of the Japanese knotweed growing at King George V Playing Fields and our specially-trained staff will stem-inject the plants in the coming days,’ they said.

‘It will take a few weeks to die off and we will do a follow-up treatment in a month and another next year to ensure it is dealt with.

‘If this Japanese knotweed has spread to properties from the playing fields, then residents can get in touch with us and we can treat it accordingly.’

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