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Revealed: The Norfolk hotspots for UK’s most destructive plant

PUBLISHED: 08:35 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:29 21 April 2020

A plant labelled by the Environment Agency as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant” is expected to rapidly grow this month. Photos: PA / Environet

A plant labelled by the Environment Agency as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant” is expected to rapidly grow this month. Photos: PA / Environet

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A plant labelled by the Environment Agency as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant” is expected to rapidly grow this month.

A sign prohibiting entry to a site due to the presence of Japanese Knotweed. Photo: Clive Gee / PAA sign prohibiting entry to a site due to the presence of Japanese Knotweed. Photo: Clive Gee / PA

The plant - Japanese Knotweed - can grow up to 20cm per day, and is known to cause damage to buildings by targeting weak points in bricks and pipes. It can have an impact on house prices.

It grows at its quickest in April when the plant turns from red to green and bamboo-like canes form - and it is booming in Norfolk and Suffolk according to new analysis by Environet UK, which mapped the country’s most affected areas.

READ MORE: Japanese Knotweed – the problem that won’t go away

A knotweed officer covered by Japanese knotweed. Photo: Barry Batchelor / PAA knotweed officer covered by Japanese knotweed. Photo: Barry Batchelor / PA

With more than 52 infestations, the area within 4km of the centre Norwich is by far the most hard hit individual zone.

Just south of the city centre, however, between Trowse Newton, Poringland and Dunston, there are at least 152 infestations of the plant, which is difficult to treat without professional help.

The place it appears most prominently after that is Ipswich, where there are at least 37 known occurrences of the plant.

Environet created a live heatmap to show where in the country the Japanese Knotweed was mot prominent. Photo: EnvironetEnvironet created a live heatmap to show where in the country the Japanese Knotweed was mot prominent. Photo: Environet

In the areas surrounding Aylsham, there are 37 infestations of the knotweed, while there are 30 infestations surrounding King’s Lynn.

In Stalham there are 26 occurrences of the plant, while in Lowestoft there are 25, and between Great Yarmouth and Caister there are 18.

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At least 18 reports have been made to Environet in Beccles, 14 in Stowmarket, 12 in Fakenham, 12 in Halesworth, and 10 surrounding Thetford.

A knotweed officer covered by Japanese knotweed. Photo: Barry Batchelor / PAA knotweed officer covered by Japanese knotweed. Photo: Barry Batchelor / PA

READ MORE: Day of the Japanese knotweed - Highly invasive plant discovered on former building yard

Homeowners in these areas “should be vigilant”, say Environet, but they “should not panic if they find themselves in lockdown with this unwelcome guest”.

You can see a full heatmap of where the plant appears all across the country on Environet’s website, and they offer the following advice if you see the plant nearby.

“It’s still possible to excavate knotweed as long as social distancing measures can be safely observed,” they said. “Contact a professional removal firm and arrange a remote survey using Facetime or by sending photographs.

“Homeowners can still make arrangements to have the invasive plant removed when restrictions are lifted and the work will typically only take a couple of days.”

Estate agents and financial advisors have moved to reassure people that, even if they discover knotweed, they will still be able to buy and sell a property, but that action would need to be taken.


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