Hampstead’s Japanese knotweed invasion going strong as Camden Council ‘fails to act’

Japanese knotweed in Hampstead, October 2013

Japanese knotweed in Hampstead, October 2013 - Credit: Archant

Camden Council has been criticised for not doing enough to rid Hampstead of a rampant weed that has been dubbed Britain’s most destructive plant.

The council was alerted in May to an infestation of Japanese knotweed, which can damage homes and seriously affect their value, in the area surrounding Redington Gardens.

But Frognal resident Matt McCarthy, who first reported the outbreak, estimates that only about 10 per cent of the affected area has been dealt with.

A footpath between Redington Gardens and Heysham Lane has been treated, but he says knotweed is still prominent in the nearby Spedan Close children’s play area, with some bushes reaching as high as 15ft.

Mr McCarthy, 43, who works in banking, said: “Despite all the promises of swift action, the knotweed is still going strong all around the playground and the adjoining properties.

“They have cleared the path but they have done nothing else. They have not done the job properly.”

Japanese knotweed spreads rapidly and can cause damage to foundations of homes or force its way through floorboards and brick walls. Some banks refuse to issue mortgages if the plant is found near to a property.

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A Camden Council spokesman said: “Our specialist contractors have advised that the original report of Japanese knotweed at Spedan Close has responded to treatment and is dying.”

He said more potential areas of knotweed will be inspected and appropriate treatment arranged.

Camden received 49 reports of knotweed between April and September, and treated 10 cases. The council does not deal with cases on private land.