Rail chiefs’ vow to tackle problem weed in Leeds

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Rail bosses have promised to tackle any Japanese Knotweed along railway embankments in a Leeds suburb following complaints by a homeowner who claims the invasive species scuppered the sale of his property.

Network Rail said it had inspected the alleged problem site behind Conference Road in Armley but that it had found limited evidence of the plant, but that its staff will revisit the area in the new year when any knotweed will be more visible.

Japanese Knotweed is an invasive, non-native species.

Japanese Knotweed is an invasive, non-native species.

The species dies back in the winter.

Landowners are legally obliged to manage the weed in accordance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to prevent encroachment and damage on neighbouring land.

Thomas Kidd said he had a sale lined up for the house that he rents out in Conference Road but the discovery of the weed on adjoining railway land caused the offer to be withdrawn.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We take our obligation to treat Japanese Knotweed very seriously. A team from Network Rail has been out to visit the railway behind Conference Road but found limited evidence of knotweed.

“However, we will revisit the area again in the first half of next year to carry out a further inspection when we expect any knotweed would be more visible. If there is evidence of growth we will add the area to our regular treatment programme.”

According to Network Rail, its assurances over being legally bound to tackle Japanese Knotweed, and as part of its ongoing treatment plan along rail embankments, are accepted “on a regular basis” by mortgage lenders as confirmation that the weed will be treated where it is found on Network Rail land.

Mr Kidd alerted Network Rail to the alleged presence of the weed behind his property via his local MP, Rachel Reeves, prompting the an initial inspection by the landowner earlier this month.

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