Five years after being instructed to do so, a court has ordered a landowner to pay over £2,600 for failing to remove Japanese knotweed from a plot in Bradford.
The owner of a property in Wibsey off Chapel Street is James Daniel Bateman.
Residents who live close to the site complained to Bradford Council in March 2018 about Japanese knotweed spreading on the vacant area.
Bateman, 45, of Grange Road, Hull, was scheduled to appear before Bradford Magistrates Court on Thursday to answer a charge of disobeying a court order requiring him to remove the noxious weed from his property.
He did not appear and was found guilty in his absence.
According to information provided to the court, Bateman received a community protection notice in the spring of 2018 directing him to hire a specialised contractor to rid the property of knotweed.
He was fined £1,000 in 2019 for his failure to comply.
At that point, the court sent out a notice directing Bateman to complete the project by the end of August 2019.
The case was put on hold due to the Covid pandemic, according to Harjit Ryatt, the Council’s prosecutor, but when the area was inspected once more in 2021, there had been no action done to remove the knotweed.
Later, Bateman informed the court that he was no longer residing at the location given on the Land Registry and that he had not been informed of any of the proceedings against him.
Late last year, the case was reopened, and Bateman was informed that he would need to give the Council specifics of the work being done.
“An officer went to the site in June and saw some work had taken place on the adjacent land,” Mr. Ryatt said in the lawsuit on Thursday.
The Council believes that the only work that has been done so far to safely remove and dispose of Japanese knotweed has been to cut it down and bury it in the ground.
It will be able to re-grow, thus this operation is inappropriate. The issue is with the roots since they can grow through tarmac.
In Bateman’s absence, the magistrates found him guilty. They assessed him a £440 surcharge, a £1,100 fine, and £1,144 in costs to the Council.