My neighbour's overgrowing bamboo plant has invaded my garden – what are my legal rights?

BAMBOO has become a popular garden plant for households but it is also a growing source of disputes between neighbours.

The plant can grow up to 30ft and easily enter and cause damage to a neighbour's property – here are your legal rights if bamboo invades your garden.

The question comes as one homeowner complained that their neighbour's bamboo had grown to more than six feet high and was starting to pop up in his lawn and patio.

While the neighbours originally said they would remove the plant, they later changed their mind, leaving this homeowner wondering what their rights are.

Bamboo is easy to grow and develops fast, making it a useful plant if you want some nature and privacy in your garden.

However, bamboo roots can travel more than 10 metres and push through bricks, drains, cavity walls, patios and cracks in concrete.

It can also grow under the ground and emerge in neighbouring gardens and properties.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that a property in Hampshire had caused £100,000 worth of damage to a neighbour's home after growing and leaving bamboo unmonitored.

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It had grown through the cavity walls of the neighbouring property and the ground floor had to be dug up.

Unlike Japanese knotweed, which is classed as an invasive plant and homeowners can face criminal prosecution if they don't monitor it, there are currently no restrictions on bamboo.

As with any overhanging plants, lawyers say that a neighbour has a right to cut back and throw overhanging shoots or branches back across the fence.

Lawyers at Taylor Rose suggest that a homeowner can still take civil legal action if bamboo has caused damage to their property.

The firm said: "Bamboo is not classed as an invasive species in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and there are currently no restrictions on planting it.

"However, encroachment cases are becoming more common; homeowners are increasingly taking legal action against neighbours who have allowed bamboo to spread."

Citizens Advice suggests it is best to first try to agree a solution with your neighbour when it comes to overhanging plants or trees.

While you can't ask them to remove the plant, you do have a right to request it is cut back.

If you can't reach an agreement, it is also possible to seek mediation.

You can find a mediator on the website.

They will act like a referee and try to resolve the dispute.

There may be a fee for mediation but it will most likely be cheaper than a solicitor and ending up in court.

Invasive plant specialist Environet has warned homeowners against planting bamboo and said it is important to be aware of the risks.

It said: "Most bamboos are invasive if planted directly into the ground and left to their own devices.

"It’s unfortunate that bamboo is still sold at garden centres and plant nurseries around the country with little or no warning about the risks.

"It would be a good deal less popular if people realised that within a few years they could be dealing with an extensive infestation that can spread across boundaries into neighbouring properties resulting in legal disputes and serious damage to homes which can be extremely costly to repair."

Find out your rights when it comes to broken fences.

We reveal what you can do if someone parks over your driveway.

Plus, do you have a right to park outside your own home?

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