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Revealed: where destructive Japanese knotweed hotspots are in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 07:30 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:51 15 February 2019

Japanese knotweed was first introduced into the country as an ornamental plant. Picture: ENVIRONET UK

Japanese knotweed was first introduced into the country as an ornamental plant. Picture: ENVIRONET UK

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The weed, which has been known to grow through concrete, knock down walls and destroy foundations is now prevalent across much of Britain.

Japanese knotweed heatmap for Suffolk. Picture: ENVIRONET UKJapanese knotweed heatmap for Suffolk. Picture: ENVIRONET UK

However the true extent of its infestation in Suffolk has now been revealed in a new regional study.

A heatmap has been produced by Environet UK, an invasive species treatment service, which populated the map with thousands of sightings of the plant.

It shows that there have been 37 recorded infestations within 4km of Ipswich town centre.

The presence of knotweed at a property can be a costly discovery, as removal can cost £5,000 if the plant needs to be completely removed from the ground.

Japanese knotweed can grow through hard surfaces and can return if not removed properly. Picture: ENVIRONET UKJapanese knotweed can grow through hard surfaces and can return if not removed properly. Picture: ENVIRONET UK

Nic Seal, founder and managing director of Environet said: “East Anglia is a Japanese knotweed hotspot, particularly around larger towns such as Ipswich and coastal towns like Lowestoft.

“The heatmap will be a useful tool for those buying and selling property in the region and local residents who want to be aware of infestations near their homes which could spread, putting their property at risk.”

Described by the Environment Agency as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”, Japanese knotweed’s rapid spread across the UK has prompted a parliamentary inquiry into its impact on the built environment.

It can be identified by its reddish-purple shoots and large heart-shaped leaves. Its flowers are creamy-white and usually appear in late summer or early autumn.

Japanese knotweed can be identified by its thick red stem and large heart-shaped leaves. Picture: ENVIRONET UKJapanese knotweed can be identified by its thick red stem and large heart-shaped leaves. Picture: ENVIRONET UK

The plant generally populates more built-up areas and in Suffolk, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds are some of the worst affected towns.

The presence of knotweed can spell trouble for both housebuyers and sellers in these areas.

People are now required to state if Japanese knotweed is present at a property before selling and are responsible for getting a professional check.

The Royal Horticultural Society advises buyers that knotweed often results in mortgage lenders asking for assurances that it will be removed before agreeing funds. This can be expensive and delay the buying process.

However knotweed is more prevalent in south-west England than East Anglia.

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