Network Rail is facing compensation claims that could total tens of millions of pounds after a landmark court ruling on damage caused to homes by Japanese knotweed growing on its land.
Neighbours Robin Waistell and Stephen Williams took on the rail giant after the plant, growing on a railway embankment next to their bungalows, spread into the foundations of their homes. The pair saw the value of their properties almost halved because of the invasion.
The plant’s roots can force their way through brick and concrete, and it is difficult and expensive to eradicate them. Neither Mr Waistell, 70, nor Mr Williams, 43, can sell their homes because lenders will not give mortgages on properties affected by knotweed.