The case of Williams v Network Rail Infrastructure  UK CC (2 February 2017) has been a welcome and long-awaited decision for people who have suffered from Japanese knotweed infestations caused by neighbouring landowners.
The presence of knotweed can cause physical damage to buildings owing to its long spreading roots. It is also expensive and difficult to eradicate. It can result in people being unable to sell, purchase, or insure property where it is evidently present.
Mr Williams and Mr Waistell, two neighbouring owners of semi-detached bungalows in South Wales, brought claims against Network Rail in private common law nuisance after one of the neighbours found that he was unable to sell his home due to the presence of knotweed. The knotweed originated from the railway embankment to the rear of the properties, where it had been present for over 50 years.