Study finds 310 Japanese Knotweed infestations across Burnley

Burnley has the fourth highest infestations of Japanese knotweed in Lancashire, a new study has revealed.
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With a total of 3,530 known infestations across Lancashire, there are 1.1 occurrences of Japanese knotweed in every 1 km².

Burnley had 310 infestations this year according to Environet.

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Japanese knotweed usually emerges in March or April and grows rapidly to reach up to 2.5 metres in height by mid-summer. It is identifiable by its hard, bamboo-like canes and distinctive shield-shaped bright green leaves which grow in a zigzag pattern along the stem.

Overlooking Burnley Town Centre. Photo: Kelvin StuttardOverlooking Burnley Town Centre. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Overlooking Burnley Town Centre. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Mature plants flower in August, becoming covered in clusters of delicate tasselled creamy-white flowers. Knotweed does not produce viable seeds as all the plants in the UK are female, so it is usually spread accidentally through the movement of soil or gardening waste, or via rivers and streams when pieces of rhizome break off and take hold in new locations.

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Tackling knotweed costs the UK economy nearly £250m. a year and homeowners are one of the groups most at risk – not only from potential damage to their property, outbuildings and gardens, which can be costly to repair, but also from legal risks arising from encroachment or when properties are sold.

Whilst it isn’t illegal to have knotweed growing on your land, if it is allowed to cross a boundary into an adjacent property, legal disputes can arise between neighbours.

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Environet estimates that approximately 5% of homes across the UK are currently affected by Japanese knotweed, either directly or neighbouring an affected property, typically impacting property prices by around 5% - or up to 10% in severe cases.

Nic Seal, founder of Environet, said: “Vigilance is the best way to protect your property from the risks posed by Japanese knotweed. Make sure you know what knotweed looks like and how it differs from other common garden weeds like ivy and bindweed, so you can keep an eye out for it in your garden and neighbourhood.

“Knotweed is easily identifiable during summer, but as we head through the autumn and into winter, the above-ground growth dies back and it becomes much harder to spot. It’s also easier to conceal, so anyone viewing a property to buy should be extra careful.”