A landowner who allowed a notorious weed to run wild causing a threat to nearby homes was fined £1,000 by Bradford magistrates.
At a hearing on 7 June, the court was told that nearby properties were potentially in danger from the encroaching Japanese Knotweed from an overgrown area of land on the north of Chapel Street in the Wibsey area of the city.
A Bradford Council enforcement officer visited the land after receiving complaints from home owners living on The Meadows estate, whose property was under threat from the weed.
On the site, he found a large area of knotweed canes which had collapsed and intertwined, with new shoots growing through the previous years’ growth.
Unchecked, Japanese Knotweed can cause structural damage to property, drains and can even grow through tarmac. It is one of the world’s worst invasive plant species and its spread causes serious threats to biodiversity, forestry and agriculture.
After visiting the site, the officer contacted the landowner, James Bateman, of Cardigan Road, Bridlington, and issued a Community Protection Warning Letter asking him to dispose of the weed using a qualified expert by 10 April last year.
A subsequent visit on 16 April found that no work had been carried out to eradicate the weed prompting the officer to issue a Community Protection Notice requiring the work to be carried out by 1 June. By the time of another visit on 19 June the work had still not been carried out.
Bateman was contacted and informed that he was being prosecuted and was told to contact the court or the council if he wanted to enter a plea or ask for an adjournment in the case.
No contact was received, and he was found guilty in his absence of failing to comply with the Community Protection Notice.
As well as the fine, Bateman was ordered to pay £648.80 costs and a Victim Surcharge of £100.
Magistrates also issued a Remedial Notice requiring treatment of the weed to be completed by August this year or he could face further court action.
After the hearing, Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for healthy people and places, said: “Neglecting to remove certain weeds not only causes an eyesore it also puts other people’s homes under direct threat of damage.
“Taking people to court is not the ideal solution to this kind of problem but we were left with no choice in this instance.
“We would much rather people acted sensibly in the first place and behaved with consideration towards their neighbours and the environment.”