WORCESTER is among the top 10 Japanese knotweed hotspots in the West Midlands according to new figures revealed by Environet UK.
Madeley in Shropshire is the worst affected location with 89 infestations within a 4km radius, followed by Shrewsbury, Birmingham, Stoke on Trent and then Worcester.
The city has 43 infestations within a 4km radius of a weed described by the Environment Agency as ‘indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant’. Japanese knotweed grows rampantly along railways, waterways, in parks and gardens and is notoriously difficult to treat without professional help.
Environet has mined data from its online heatmap Exposed: The Japanese Knotweed Heatmap, launched earlier this year, which records Japanese knotweed sightings across the UK. The map is intended to inform local homeowners and potential homebuyers of the local presence of Japanese knotweed, enabling them to enter a postcode to discover the number of reported knotweed sightings nearby, with hotspots clearly visible in yellow or red.
Japanese knotweed can deter buyers, making a property difficult to sell and prevent a mortgage lender approving a loan unless a treatment plan is in place with an insurance-backed guarantee, thereby impacting a property’s value by around 10 per cent.
Nic Seal, founder and MD of Environet, said, “At times such as this when the property market is slow and fewer homes are being bought and sold, it continues to spread unchecked. Anyone thinking about buying a property in the region, particularly in these hotspots, would be wise to check the number of infestations in the proximity of their postcode and consider instructing a Japanese knotweed survey on the property.”
Homeowners who are concerned about knotweed infestations near their home could consider purchasing a specialist Japanese knotweed indemnity policy, which covers them for the cost of treatment, repairs, legal costs and any diminution of the property’s value, should knotweed arise.