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UK’s Japanese knotweed hotspots shown on interactive map

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Japanese knotweed is a devastating invasive plant which can break through concrete, bricks and mortar, and new data reveals Bolton is the worst affected place in the UK. 

The North West of England is one of the hardest hit parts of the country, with three places — Bolton (first), St Helens (third) and Blackburn (fifth) — among the ten most plagued locations.  

Wales and the South West have also been hit hard, with Bristol (2), Cardiff (4), Llanelli (6) and Swansea (7) all in the ten worst affected places. 

According to Environet, a company which specialises in the removal of invasive plants like bamboo and Japanese knotweed, the top ten is rounded out by Rotherham in eighth, Shepherd’s Bush in ninth and Nottingham in tenth. 

The company has built an interactive heat map called Exposed which collected information on more than 54,000 infestations.

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Japanese knotweed removal experts Environet built an interactive heat map (pictured) which collected more than 54,000 known infestations of the plant. It reveals parts of the country which are hardest hit by the plant

Japanese knotweed removal experts Environet built an interactive heat map (pictured) which collected more than 54,000 known infestations of the plant. It reveals parts of the country which are hardest hit by the plant

Top 10 UK Japanese knotweed hotspots

The data below comes from Environet, a leading British company which specialises in combatting and eradicating invasive plants, such as japanese knotweed and bamboo. 

Location 

Bolton 

Bristol 

St Helens 

Cardiff 

Blackburn 

Llanelli 

Swansea 

Rotherham 

Shepherd’s Bush 

Nottingham       

Infestations 

 621

465

440

419

406

382

330

320

230

228 

Users can browse the map to see how many infestations have been reported within a 4km radius (2.5miles) of any location in the UK, or can search by postcode.  

Japanese knotweed is exceptionally strong and its roots are capable of growing through concrete, drains, mortar, brick and even cavity walls. 

The weed is incredibly hard to control, as its underground roots grow stronger and faster than the above-ground plant which is visible to gardeners. 

A study by scientists at Swansea University in 2018 found the plant is impossible to manage with standard measures. After 19 different attempts, they failed to control it. 

Homeowners are unable to control the spread of the plant themselves, with expert help needed in order to eradicate it once it takes root. 

It hibernates throughout winter but exits its phase of dormancy in the spring, growing again in March. This growth phase can be easily spotted as distinctive red shoots which look like asparagus emerge. 

Other telltale signs of the plant are its distinctive shield-shaped leaves, pretty white flowers which bloom in the summer, and pink-flecked stems.

The plant grows rapidly in the summer months, surging around four inches (10cm) every day between May and July until it reaches a height of up to 10ft (3metres).  

The plant is native to the Far East and was brought to Kew Gardens in the 1840s for its beautiful flowers but it grew out of control and has now spread across the British Isles. 

The Government estimates it would now cost £1.5bn to clear the UK of knotweed.

Its destructive ability means it can be a nightmare for homeowners as it not only poses a structural risk but reduces a property’s value by around ten per cent. 

House sellers are legally required to declare the presence of Japanese knotweed (pictured) if they have any knowledge of it and those who lie can be sued for misrepresentation

House sellers are legally required to declare the presence of Japanese knotweed (pictured) if they have any knowledge of it and those who lie can be sued for misrepresentation

The North West of England (pictured) is one of the hardest hit parts of the country, with three places — Bolton (first), St Helens (third) and Blackburn (fifth) — among the ten most plagued locations

The North West of England (pictured) is one of the hardest hit parts of the country, with three places — Bolton (first), St Helens (third) and Blackburn (fifth) — among the ten most plagued locations

The South West and Wales (pictured) is another hard hit region, with Bristol (2), Cardiff (4), Llanelli (6) and Swansea (7) all in the ten worst affected places in the UK

The South West and Wales (pictured) is another hard hit region, with Bristol (2), Cardiff (4), Llanelli (6) and Swansea (7) all in the ten worst affected places in the UK 

According to Environet’s research, approximately one in 20 homes are currently affected by the plant, either directly or indirectly via a neighbour’s garden, knocking around £20 billion off UK house prices. 

People can now use the Environet online tool to see how badly their area is affected by the plant. 

Nic Seal, founder of Environet, told MailOnline: ‘Knowledge is power when it comes to Japanese knotweed and this heatmap is invaluable to homeowners and buyers who want to assess the risk in their local area. 

‘With the stamp duty holiday extended and lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, the property market is busier than ever – but failing to carry out the appropriate checks for knotweed can turn out to be an expensive mistake.

‘Despite its fearsome reputation, with professional help, the plant can be dealt with and the value of a property largely restored. 

‘I’d urge anyone buying or selling a property, or homeowners wishing to preserve the value of their home, to be vigilant for signs of spring growth and check Exposed to see whether they live in a high-risk area.’

The leaves of Japanese Knotweed but smaller than Bohemian knotweed andis slightly lighter in colour. Leaves are shield shaped and at least 4inches long

The leaves of Japanese Knotweed but smaller than Bohemian knotweed andis slightly lighter in colour. Leaves are shield shaped and at least 4inches long

Shepherd's Bush is the only London location to feature in the top ten most affected parts of the UK for japanese knotweed infestations

Shepherd’s Bush is the only London location to feature in the top ten most affected parts of the UK for japanese knotweed infestations 

Environet recently commissioned a piece of research which found 70 per cent of homeowners would take legal action against previous owners if they discovered a Japanese knotweed infestation in their property.

Sellers are legally required to declare the presence of Japanese knotweed if they have any knowledge of it, and those who lie can be sued for misrepresentation.

If found guilty, the courts can force the seller to pay out compensation for diminution of the property’s value, as well as any extra costs if the weed spreads to neighbouring land.  

YouGov data from 2,000 British respondents reveals that knowledge of the invasive weed is growing in the UK, with 80 per cent of Britons now aware of the plant. 

Environet is also training dogs to sniff out knotweed in a bid to make it easier to find signs of infestation.  

Training twin brother Labradors Mick and Mack took less than three months — and was based on their love of tennis balls.

In the early days, a ball was placed next to a small amount of knotweed. The size of the ball was gradually reduced, until the knotweed became a stronger scent than the ball. 

Eventually, there was no ball at all, though the dogs still associated the knotweed with it. 

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South Africa 17 Lions 22

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15 Stuart Hogg

Something of a flip-flop in terms of his strengths as a player as one or two misplaced passes in attack but resolute and solid in defence. A couple of glimpses of his footwork and pace but he’ll be hoping for more ball next Saturday. Rating: 6

14 Anthony Watson

He was excellent in the first half, the Lions most potent force in attack in being able to escape multiple tacklers, albeit most of the time in lifting pressure in his own 22/half. The ball didn’t run his way after the interval. Rating: 7

13 Elliot Daly

It was his first game at outside centre in Test rugby in five years and it showed. He gave away a couple of penalties, missed his trademark long-range penalty, was bested physically in the collisions and will be under pressure to retain his place. Rating: 5

Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Elton Jantjies. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Elton Jantjies. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

12 Robbie Henshaw

Shaded his physical duel with Damian de Allende, carried aggressively, was accurate in the tackle and scrambled well, highlighted by forcing a crucial knock-on from Lukhanyo Am. He made one fine break albeit losing possession and a couple of finger-tip knocks-on but generally good. Rating: 7

11 Duhan van der Merwe

A couple of snapshots of his power in the tackle but like Watson was never given the type of ball where he could impose his strength. He didn’t have many questions to answer in defence because Cheslin Kolbe got very little ball. Rating: 6

10 Dan Biggar

The Welsh outhalf kicked 14 points from the tee and in a general sense, one pulled place-kick aside, his kicking game was reasonably well directed. He didn’t really bring his backline into play at any stage, suffocated by the Boks’ defensive press but overall the ledger was appreciably positive. Rating: 7


The British & Irish Lions

Full coverage of all the action in South Africa READ MORE

9 Ali Price

He looked a little overwhelmed by the pace and physicality in the first 20 minutes but he gradually settled to the task. It was his excellent box-kicking after the restart that yielded opportunities for the Lions to regain possession and wrest control. Rating: 7

1 Rory Sutherland

A late call-up to the starting team due to Wyn Jones’s unavailability he was pinged twice at the scrum and the fact that his replacement Mako Vunipola made an appreciable difference when introduced could see him struggle to be in the matchday 23 next Saturday. Rating: 5

2 Luke Cowan-Dickie

Two errant lineouts, one overthrown the other crooked, were the only real blemishes on his try-scoring performance that was accompanied by a high work-rate on both sides of the ball. Rating: 6

Tadhg Furlong appeals to referee Nic Berry during the first Test. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
Tadhg Furlong appeals to referee Nic Berry during the first Test. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

3 Tadhg Furlong

Loves a good celebration from the lineout maul tries, he won an important scrum penalty and was an important buffer in that set-piece when the Boks chased dominance there. He carried and tackled with typical application in a robust performance over the 67 minutes. Rating: 7

4 Maro Itoje

Deserved man-of-the-match, three turnovers in the first half alone including one within a few metres of the Lions’ line that saved a try. Immense in every facet of the game, he led by example especially in defence; intelligent and unrelenting. Rating: 9

5 Alun Wyn Jones (capt)

He was very quiet in the first half but considering the injury from which he has recovered that was to be expected. He was a key figure in the Lions’ second-half revival that included work-rate and decision-making. Rating: 7

6 Courtney Lawes

A huge performance in all aspects of the game, out of touch, carrying, making an eye-catching break that took him through three attempted tackles as a pre-cursor to one of his side’s better attacking moments. Tackled with authority. Rating: 8

7 Tom Curry

There could be no faulting his desire and work ethic but in conceding three penalties he demonstrated an impetuous streak that proved a bit of a handicap to his team in that opening half. His place will be under threat. Rating: 5

8 Jack Conan

He provided illustrations of the many qualities that he brings to a team, making one of two line breaks, defending and tackling with intelligence and carried the ball more than any other Lions player. Rating: 7

Replacements

In a collective sense they, to a man, added energy and momentum at a crucial stage. Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler gave their team a rock solid scrum, forcing a penalty there to boot. Hamish Watson was lucky to avoid a card for a dangerous tackle. Conor Murray and Owen Farrell brought control and maturity for the most part. Rating: 8

Coach

Warren Gatland deserves great credit for the team selection initially as most of the big calls that he made work out superbly. His half-time recalibration of tactics and focus worked a treat as did the timing of the replacements. He’s never been afraid to change things up and that may be reflected in a couple of changes for the second Test one of which could see Bundee Aki drafted in at 12 with Henshaw moving to 13. Rating: 8

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Norfolk’s Hemsby tops the list of villages with the biggest house prices

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Seaside sun… rises! Norfolk’s Hemsby leads villages with the biggest property value boom as buyers search for coastal countryside views

  • Norfolk’s Hemsby tops the list of villages with the biggest house price increases
  • The average value of a home in Hemsby is up 22% during the past year
  • Three of the top five villages with the biggest price increases are in Norfolk

Britain’s village hotspots for homebuyers have been revealed and dominating the list are seaside locations.

The pandemic has seen a ‘race for space’ with people living in cities moving to rural and coastal areas due to more flexible working practices.

They are shunning busy city landscapes for open green spaces in the countryside and easy access to expansive sea views.

Britain's village hotspots for homebuyers have been revealed by property website Rightmove

Britain’s village hotspots for homebuyers have been revealed by property website Rightmove

This four-bedroom house in Hemsby is on the market for £300,000 via Bycroft estate agents

This four-bedroom house in Hemsby is on the market for £300,000 via Bycroft estate agents

Hemsby, just north of Great Yarmouth, tops the rankings produced by Rightmove, having seen the biggest rise in average house prices during the past year.

The typical value of a home in the Norfolk village has increased 22 per cent in the 12 months from June last year, from £221,533 to £270,144.

Three of the top five villages with the biggest house prices increases were in Norfolk, with Heacham and Caister-On-Sea also making the list.

Heacham saw asking prices increase by 20 per cent in June 2021 compared to the same period last year, while asking prices in Caister-On-Sea rose by 12 per cent.

Caister-On-Sea also saw one of the biggest rises in demand for villages, with buyer demand up 46 per cent in June 2021 compared to June 2020. Average asking prices in Caister-On-Sea are £240,909.

David Lowes, of estate agents Mr & Mrs Clark in Norfolk, said: ‘With a general “escape to the country” desire prevalent for many, the rural county of Norfolk is in high demand.

‘With its 90 odd miles of varied coastline, the added possibility of a “next-to-the-sea” lifestyle, and the simple pleasure of a stunning sunrise or sunset means the coastal villages are of particular attraction.’

Heacham saw asking prices increase by 20 per cent in the year to June 2021, says Rightmove

Heacham saw asking prices increase by 20 per cent in the year to June 2021, says Rightmove 

This four-bedroom house in Heacham is for sale for £475,000 via Sowerbys estate agents

This four-bedroom house in Heacham is for sale for £475,000 via Sowerbys estate agents

He added: ‘Hemsby and Caister in the east and Heacham in the west of the county offer some of the more affordable options thus driving strong percentage price growth. 

‘Each of these villages are close to larger towns too which helps with the transition to the countryside in terms of availability of amenities and activities.’

Rightmove defined demand as the number of enquiries it had via emails and calls to agents via its website. 

Average prices percentage increases in these villages appear to be around three times as much elsewhere. But this may be affected by villages having lower stock and fewer transactions. 

The average price of a home in Britain increased 6 per cent during the past year to June, from £317,058 to £336,073, according to Rightmove.

This four-bedroom house in Caister-on-sea is for sale for £400,000 via Bycroft estate agents

This four-bedroom house in Caister-on-sea is for sale for £400,000 via Bycroft estate agents

Rightmove revealed that six out of the top 10 villages with the biggest annual price growth in June are near the sea. House price growth in all of these villages rose at a higher rate than the national average.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘During the past year, we’ve spoken a lot about the changes we’re seeing in where people are choosing to live, and this data shows continued demand from buyers looking for villages and rural locations outside of traditional major cities.

‘While we have seen signs that cities are starting to make a steady comeback, particularly in the rental market, price growth across all areas of Britain continues to be strong.

‘With the summer weather finally here, we’re seeing an added drive from buyers looking for that perfect village location by the sea, which is supporting price growth in these areas.’

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Cork activist questioned over allegations of harassment by Christian fundamentalists

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A file is to be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on a Cork activist accused of “inciting hatred” against a Christian fundamentalist group.

Fiona O’Leary was arrested by appointment on Tuesday for the purpose of Garda interview regarding allegations of incitement to hatred, harassment and trespass against the members of the Society of Saint Pius X Resistance (SSPX Resistance), which operates from a compound in west Cork.

The group, part of a loose worldwide network, was founded by ex-Catholic priest Richard Williamson, who recently gave a sermon in Cork linking Jewish people to the start of Covid-19 and calling them “master servants of the devil”.

Ms O’Leary has written about the group on her blog and visited its compound to take pictures and question its leaders. She also photographed and published pictures of two of its priests after spotting them in the supermarket.

Incitement to hatred, a rarely prosecuted offence, makes it a crime to publish material “likely to stir up hatred” against a group or individual.

Ms O’Leary was last week informed by gardaí that she was to be arrested for the purposes of interview in relation to the allegations. She was told she would be arrested in public if she did not attend the Garda station by arrangement.

After arriving at the station by appointment, Ms O’Leary was arrested on the allegation of harassment before being interviewed for five hours, with one break in the middle, on all three accusations.

During interview, gardaí put it to her that the members of the church were afraid as a result of her actions. They also questioned her about her interaction with journalists who have written about the SSPX resistance.

A DNA sample and fingerprints were taken before she was released on Tuesday night.

“The female was released without charge, the investigation is ongoing and a file will be prepared for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” a Garda spokesman confirmed.

SSPX Resistance

The Cork branch of SSPX Resistance came to some prominence recently when its leader, Giacomo Ballini, led a procession through Dublin to perform an exorcism of the Dáil, in an apparent breach of Covid-19 regulations.

The Drimoleague woman has a long history of campaigning on various topics through her blog and social media channels.

Last year, SSPX Resistance founder Mr Williamson travelled to the Cork branch, which is based in a farmhouse in a remote part of the county, where he gave a sermon claiming, among other things, that Jewish people are manipulating the stock market in an effort to start a war. The Jewish Representative Council of Ireland referred the comments to the Garda after they were reported in the Sunday World newspaper.

Mr Williamson was once a priest in the Catholic Church before being excommunicated in the late 1980s. He was later readmitted to the church before being excommunicated again in 2009 after his conviction in a German court of Holocaust denial.

He founded SSPX Resistance as an off-shoot of the Society of St Pius X which itself once broke away from mainstream Catholicism over its belief that the modern church was becoming too liberal.

Mr Williamson’s group is more conservative again, and believes the SSPX has itself become too modern. SSPX Resistance describes itself as “a group of traditional Catholics who wish to practise their faith without compromise to liberalism or modernism”.

His group has been accused of harbouring two Catholic priests in the UK after they were accused of sexual abuse while members of the original SSPX sect.

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