A WOMAN is taking legal action against a national organisation over an invasive plant growing behind her garden.

Kat Murphy, of Frinton Road, Stamford Hill, claims she cannot sell her upstairs flat, which she had lived in for more than 12 years.

She tried to re-mortgage it last year after almost completing the purchase of a new home.

But the surveyor who came round identified Japanese Knotweed growing on the Network Rail embankment just behind her fence.

As it was within seven metres of the flat downstairs, she was unable to get the mortgage and her house purchase fell through after the owners were “unwilling” to wait for the problem to be resolved.

The 41-year-old said she has now contacted a solicitor after the plant has spread into the gardens of the flat owners downstairs.

Ms Murphy, who got married in March this year to her partner Eros, said she feels “desperate” to move to a bigger house so she can invite family and friends round.

She said: “We feel trapped and helpless and are becoming increasingly despondent with our situation, which has been going on for almost a year.

“We were told by a surveyor that Network Rail needed to treat the plant using a certified company who can provide a 10 year insurance backed guarantee, otherwise no lender would consider us.

“I called the rail company to tell them about the plant and asked if I could pay to get the plant treated, using a specialist contractor, but they refused access to their land.

“I then asked if they could treat the plant, again using a specialist contractor but after several calls, we proceeded to get nowhere.

She added Network Rail treated the plant on their own land but ignored the rest and they used their own staff so couldn't provide any insurance certificates.

She said: “I don't know what to do and neither do the neighbours.

“We're worried that if we treat on the land we can legally get access to and the plant regrows, the company we use are likely to say any regrowth is likely to be due to the more mature plant that is re-growing on the Network Rail land.”

Ms Murphy said the weed has treated as a “nuisance” by Network Rail, rather than as a more serious problem preventing her from selling her flat.

She said: “Network Rail sent a member of their staff and a solicitor to come and meet us in December and they told us they'd arrange for a survey and would be in touch soon.

“Since then they have simply responded saying that they believe that because I own the upstairs flat, the knotweed is merely a nuisance.”

A Network Rail spokesperson, who was not named, said: “This matter is subject to a legal claim. We are in communication with the claimant’s solicitors and are seeking to resolve the claim.

“As the matter is subject to a legal claim we can’t provide further details.”