Hodgson View: Science & Tech Committee Hearing on Knotweed

Being described as “a reasonably sensible, bluff bloke from a builders’ trade association” by ‘Quentin Letts’ in the Daily Mail may not have been the highlight of last week, but it did make me giggle. Unfortunately, the other good people on the panel with me on Tuesday morning, giving evidence to the Science and Technology Committee at Portcullises House in Westminster, would probably rather ignore the scathing disruptions published by this self-indulged hack!

Back to the point on the Select Committee!

That aside we were pleased to take a trip down to London on Tuesday morning to give an account of what the PCA has been doing to establish best practice in relation to Japanese knotweed management for the last seven years with the Science and Technology Select Committee. The event also gave an opportunity to share the collective knowledge and expertise of our professional members who openly share their knowledge and experience in the pursuit of excellence.

Explaining the obstacles to the Select Committees

The premise of the parliamentary enquiry by the Select Committee was the assertion that homeowners affected by Japanese Knotweed are being made to suffer because of the ill-informed policy’s adopted by lenders and surveyors. An assertion that only demonstrates the committee’s lack of understanding of the lending, surveying and conveyancing process and also of the way institutions make decisions and manage risk.

We are keen to be a part of the review process

The outcome of all this will hopefully be positive. It is anticipated that the RICS will try and draw people together for the common task of revising their seminal Information Paper on Japanese knotweed. A process we are very keen to be part of and one that will be supported by the Association and its members.

Is the issue being overstated?

Japanese Knotweed does damage built structures, it devalues ecology, the soil it contaminates soil, spreads like mad, it is very hard to kill and it is illegal to plant. You can be fined for not controlling it and be sued by your neighbours if it becomes a nuisance. Buildings with Japanese knotweed are worth less than those without it and surveyors get sued if they fail to spot it during a building survey.

Overstating the issue – perhaps not! 

Watch the Science and Tech Select Committee hearing for yourself!

Anyway for those that can afford to squander two hours of their life a link to the event is available below. You can watch it at your leisure and make your own minds up.

Watch the Scientific and Technology Committee debate the impact of Japanese Knotweed

Find out more about Japanese Knotweed