Following the Court of Appeal decision in Network Rail Infrastructure Limited v Williams and Waistell, Parliament is digging deeper to untangle the effect of Japanese knotweed on the built environment.  The Science and Technology Commons Select Committee has been tasked with ensuring that Government decisions and policies are underpinned by good scientific foundations and is calling for submissions.

Back in July we blogged on the Court of Appeal decision which awarded damages to two property owners who each owned a bungalow neighbouring part of Network Rail’s land, from which Japanese knotweed had spread.  The issue is that this invasive weed spreads rapidly and can smash through a building’s foundations causing substantial damage, affecting valuations and making the financing of impacted properties very difficult.

The Select Committee has announced it will hold a one-off oral evidence session with relevant experts in early 2019 to explore “the science behind the effects of Japanese knotweed on the built environment”.

So what does the Committee want to know?  Ahead of the session, it is calling for written submissions on:

1. scientific evidence regarding the impact of Japanese knotweed on the built environment;

2. how the presence of Japanese knotweed affects lending decisions and property valuations;

3. whether lending decisions relating to Japanese knotweed are based on sound scientific evidence of its effects on the built environment; and

4. what guidance for the sector currently exists, the impact of existing legislation, and how else evidence-based responses to the presence of Japanese knotweed can be encouraged.

If you would like to respond the inquiry page contains a submissions form.

The Committee is also keen to hear from the public about their experiences of dealing with Japanese knotweed, whether this arises through being a homeowner, a tenant, a prospective purchaser or a developer. You can respond via this webform, and the Committee will be inviting a number of those who respond to an engagement event in Westminster on 21 January 2019.

All written submissions and contributions should be provided by 31 December 2018.

Watch this space – we’ll be blogging the latest developments in the New Year.