‘Negligence’ of danger weed growing in hospital grounds

Japanese knotweed growing at Horsham Hospital SUS-170718-144957001
Japanese knotweed growing at Horsham Hospital SUS-170718-144957001

Landlords at Horsham Hospital have been accused of ‘gross negligence’ in allowing a danger weed to grow in the hospital grounds.

Health watchdog Lilian Bold says she reported Japanese knotweed - which can grow through concrete - in two of the hospital’s 14 courtyard gardens last year.

She reported another of the invasive plants growing near the hospital’s X-ray department around four years ago. But, she says, nothing was done and now the plants are massive.

Japanese knotweed is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s worst invasive species. It can damage concrete foundations, buildings, flood defences, roads, paving, and retaining walls.

In a letter to health chiefs this week, Lilian - Sussex Coummunity Foundation Trust public governor for Horsham - said: “It is the responsibility of the landlord to eradicate this invasive weed by cutting down and removing if off site for burning and treating the area with a killer chemical for three years - and to do this at any new area of growth.

“So please can I ask why this was not done when it was first reported? It has to be seen as a gross negligence of a duty of the landlord not to have eradicated this weed before it got to grow this big and I had to report on it again this year.”

In a reply, Diana Standing, of NHS Property Services, said she had contacted a contractor for a quote to start eradication of the weed.

And Horsham Councillor Christine Costin said: “There are clear guidelines about how to deal with Japanese knotweed and plainly the earlier it is eradicated the better.” She said she hoped it would be dealt with as soon as possible.