READING has come second in a list of the worst affected areas by the 'invasive' Japanese knotweed plant.

The top ten Japanese knotweed hotspots in the South East region of the UK have been revealed today by Environet UK, with Shanklin in the Isle of Wight named as the worst affected town.

Described by the Environment Agency as "indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant", Japanese knotweed grows rampantly along railways, waterways, in parks and gardens and is notoriously difficult to treat without professional help.

Environet has mined data from its online heatmap, Exposed: The Japanese Knotweed Heatmap, launched earlier this year.


The map records Japanese knotweed sighting across the UK, and is intended to inform local homeowners and potential homebuyers of the local presence of Japanese knotweed, enabling them to enter a postcode to discover the number of reported sightings nearby.

Reading Chronicle:

The plant can deter buyers, making a property difficult to sell and prevent a mortgage lender approving a loan unless a treatment plan is in place with an insurance-backed guarantee, thereby impacting a property’s value by around 10 per cent.

Sellers are required by law to inform potential purchasers whether their home is, or has been, affected by Japanese knotweed, which can act as a deterrent even if the infestation has been treated.

Environet estimates that Japanese knotweed currently affects four to five per cent of UK properties, wiping a total of £20 billion off house prices.

Nic Seal, founder and MD of Environet, said: "At times such as this when the property market is slow and fewer homes are being bought and sold, it continues to spread unchecked.

"Anyone thinking about buying a property in the region, particularly in hotspots such as the Isle of Wight, Reading and Tunbridge Wells, would be wise to check the number of infestations in the proximity of their postcode and consider instructing a Japanese knotweed survey on the property."

Homeowners concerned about knotweed infestations near their home could consider purchasing a specialist Japanese knotweed indemnity policy, which covers them for the cost of treatment, repairs, legal costs and any diminution of the property's value, should knotweed arise.