In early 2018, Adam and Eleanor Smith successfully sued Rosemary Line for allowing Japanese knotweed to grow onto their property. After selling the Smiths their family home in 2002, Mrs Line retained ownership of land that bordered the property. In the years following, the Smiths discovered Japanese knotweed spreading into their land from Mrs. Line’s land which she refused to treat.

The knotweed infestation caused the value of the Smiths’ home to drop by 10%, leaving them no further recourse but to take Mrs Line to court. Although Mrs Line contended that the knotweed had existed before the Smith’s arrival, she was still found to have failed to prevent the spread of the plant from her neighbouring land to the Smith’s home.

Mrs Line will now have to commit to a 5-year treatment plan with a recognised expert who will provide an insurance backed guarantee, in order to clear both properties of the infestation – this has provided an important precedence and serves as a clear warning to property owners who choose to neglect the spread of knotweed on their land.