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Charles Lyndon wins Japanese knotweed case

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Charles Lyndon wins Japanese knotweed case

We were invited to listen to the details where Charles Lyndon successfully won a case for Robin Waistell v Network Rail.

Robin Waistell v Network Rail in brief

Mr Waistell has wanted to sell his house since 2013 but could not because of the presence of the Japanese knotweed on land adjacent to his property. This land is owned by Network rail and there was a large stand of 600m2 of Japanese knotweed present on it. The house, which had been valued at £130,000, was valued at £65,000 due to the presence of the Japanese knotweed. Network Rail did not treat the Japanese knotweed properly and refused to purchase an insurance backed guarantee so Mr Waistell could sell his house. Due to this course of action, Mr Waistell appointed Charles Lyndon Solicitors to represent him. Which they did and they won the case.

Robin Waistell v Network Rail in detail;

What is interesting with this case is that there was no obvious signs of the Japanese knotweed passing from Network Rail on to the property owned by the claimant, Mr Waistell. Why this is pertinent is that as stated in the Environment Agency Code of practice, “it is not offence to have Knotweed on your land”. However, once that Knotweed moves from your land to your neighbour’s land, the relevant law is that of private nuisance.

Firstly, encroachment had to be proved, this was done inadvertently by Network Rail, the Defendant, when they dug trial holes and photographed the Japanese knotweed growing adjacent to the claimant’s property and it was deemed reasonable that as the foundation was only 0.7m deep, that the roots were under the property.

However, the judge found “damage to the land had to be proved.” He cited Delaware Mansions, which in that case they showed the roots caused dehydration of the soil which in turn caused damage. Currently, there is no evidence to demonstrate that Japanese knotweed rhizomes dehydrate the soil and therefore cause damage in that manner.

Mr Waistell had claimed that due to the Japanese knotweed’s close proximity to his house, this was a “serious interference with their quiet enjoyment and amenity of their land.” This is part of private nuisance law. The judge found and this is very important, that; ‘the right of an individual to use and dispose of a residential property at market value is “so important a part of an ordinary householder’s enjoyment of his property that such an interference should be regarded as a legal nuisance.”’

The defendant argued that no actual damage had been caused and that the claimants’ loss was due to the stigma. The judge found that the stigma of an activity on adjoining land can constitute a nuisance.

The judge awarded Mr Waistell the cost of treatment and the residual impact upon the value of properties as valued by the defendant’s expert a sum of £15,000.  However, he made it very clear that if the defendant did not co-operate with the claimants in order to treat the knotweed then as this was a continuing nuisance then the claimants would be at liberty to come back before the court and seek the full diminution of value of £65,000.

We at Japanese Knotweed Expert have been used many times to provide “expert” reports, often detailing age, size and what has caused the Japanese Knotweed to appear in the given place.

If you need any advice or the remediation of Japanese knotweed then please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 1337 444 or at: info@JapaneseKnotweedExpert.co.uk