THE top ten Japanese knotweed hotspots in the South East of England have been revealed, with Shanklin topping the table.

The Isle of Wight tops the list as the location worst affected by UK’s most invasive plant.

According to Exposed ­— the Japanese knotweed heat map launched by Environet earlier this year ­— there are 84 infestations within four kilometres of Shanklin.

Second on the list ­— Reading, Berkshire ­— has 45 infestations, 39 less than Shanklin.

Described by the Environment Agency as "indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant", Japanese knotweed grows rampantly along railways, waterways, in parks and gardens, and is notoriously difficult to treat without professional help.

Japanese knotweed can deter buyers, making a property difficult to sell.

Mortgage lenders are unable to approve a loan unless a treatment plan is in place with an insurance-backed guarantee, thereby impacting a property’s value by around ten per cent.

Nic Seal, founder and managing director of Environet, said: "Japanese knotweed has become a major problem, impacting property prices, halting sales and causing a huge amount of stress and worry for homeowners.

"Anyone thinking about buying a property in the region, particularly in hotspots such as the Isle of Wight, would be wise to check the number of infestations in the proximity of their postcode and consider instructing a Japanese knotweed survey on the property."

Environet estimates that Japanese knotweed currently affects four to five per cent of UK properties, wiping a total of £20 billion off house prices.

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