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Legal Position Regarding Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed

The existence of Japanese Knotweed in Galway City properties is becoming a more common occurrence.

Japanese Knotweed is an invasive species that has a vigorous root structure which can spread through foundations, walls and drains. It is a very real problem for property owners as the plant undermines the structural integrity of a property and may impact the value of your property.

Eradication of the plant is extremely costly and removal of the weed must be undertaken by a specialised company with the appropriate waste permits.

Regulations 49 and 50 of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 make it an offence to allow the dispersal of Japanese Knotweed. Encroachment or the traversing of a property boundary/wall can be classified as “dispersal” and hence liability for the removal of the plant will lie with the adjoining property owner.

If you have concerns about the existence of the plant, then you should take immediate steps to firstly, correctly identity the plant and secondly, notify your adjoining property owner of the existence of Japanese Knotweed.

If the adjoining property fails to engage with you, then one should immediately serve three months written notice on the adjoining property owner stating the nature of the works which you propose carrying out and advising of a time for the completion of said works. The adjoining property owner should be afforded a time frame of circa 14 days to reply failing which, you should seek legal advice.

Property owners should beware of their responsibility to prevent the spreading of the plant. Failure to prevent the spread of the plant may result in adjoining property owner bringing a tortious action, e.g. private nuisance.
 

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