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Growing awareness of the property risks posed by Japanese knotweed has encouraged insurers to play a crucial role in backing the UK’s knotweed treatment industry. We caught up with the team that introduced the invasive weed to the Lloyd’s market.

In recent times it has come to prominence as a scourge of homeowners, but Japanese knotweed – a notoriously invasive plant that can cause damage to buildings and their foundations – has been causing mischief throughout the UK for decades (deliberately planting Japanese knotweed was outlawed under the UK’s Wildlife and Countryside Act as far back as 1981).

According to Nic Seal, managing director of Japanese knotweed removal firm Environet, it was only when mortgage lenders began steering clear of affected properties that the troublesome plant – which is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as one of the worst invasive species – became common knowledge.

“Most people in the UK have heard of Japanese knotweed now, but a few years ago plenty of people who should have known, including professionals in the property sector, hadn’t heard about it. Once the banks cottoned on, that spread the message very quickly,” he tells

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