Oakwood residents knot happy with invasive weed

Fears an infestation of Japanese knotweed could devalue the price of people’s properties

Oakwood residents stage a protest against the invasive weed (inset) alongside Conservative councillors Julian Sampson (left) and Tom O’Halloran (right)

Residents in Oakwood fear an invasive weed could devalue their properties and make them impossible to sell.

People living near the Glenbrook stream, east of Boxers Lake, staged a protest this week against the proliferation of Japanese knotweed along its banks.

Japanese knotweed is notorious for spreading rapidly and causing damage to buildings thanks to its deep roots and its ability to suppress all other plant growth in the vicinity. Because of these qualities it is something that property surveyors look for when a home goes on the market, with its confirmed presence even preventing banks from offering mortgages.

The eradication of Japanese knotweed requires professional treatment because it cannot be done by hand and there are also laws in place to prevent its spread.

Residents in Oakwood say the plant has been present along the banks of Glenbrook for a decade or so but that they are particularly worried about this summer’s vigorous growth, which they fear is now widespread enough to reach their gardens.

Oakwood councillor Julian Sampson says he has been waiting for a month for Enfield Council officers to respond to concerns he has raised on behalf of residents.

Cllr Sampson told the Dispatch: “It is growing down the bank and it is quite widespread, it is all over the place.

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“This is one of the things where the longer you leave it, the more difficult it gets to remedy and get rid of.”

Lowther Drive resident Hardi Samsami said: “I first contacted the council about it ten years ago. Each time it grows back and spreads.

“If it gets rooted into the ground [near a property], then it can come through the foundations and then it undermines the building and you have to underpin the house.

“You won’t be able to sell it.”

A council spokesperson said the weed had been treated last month but that it would take a long time to eradicate fully. They said: “Japanese knotweed is best controlled by the application of a suitable herbicide, in this case a glyphosate-based treatment, which must be applied annually in late summer/early autumn after the plant has flowered in order for it to be effective.

“This treatment was applied on 3rd August by suitably-qualified officers who hold the relevant professional qualifications and we have informed the ward councillors of the actions we have taken.

“While we expect this treatment to be effective it can take two to three years of repeated treatment to permanently eradicate Japanese knotweed so we will monitor the site to ensure the action we have taken is successful and take the relevant steps if further treatment is required.

“We are taking action to tackle outbreaks of Japanese knotweed across Enfield including taking enforcement action if private landowners allow the plant to spread, however we acknowledge that we could have been better at communicating what action we are taking to deal with this issue.”

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