A couple have received an apology after herbicide placed on tracks caused severe damage to their garden.

Joan Watling, 68, and her husband John, 76, of Manor Way in Chingford, were horrified to find trees and 25 metre-long flower bed at the bottom of their garden was dying off.

The greenery, which had been in place for more than 40 years, shielded the garden from wire fencing and railway tracks.

Following enquiries, the couple were told herbicide Glyphosate had been applied to nearby tracks by Network Rail on  the Greater Anglia Chingford and Liverpool Street line. 

On two occasions during spring, workers had sprayed Gylphosate using a ‘weed train’ to control vegetation.

Mrs Watling said: "It was apparent during the summer months our shrubs and plants were dying off as before they really made the railway invisible to us. 

"We had no idea what the long term effect on the soil would be, and we needed to know the condition to submit a realistic claim.

“But our efforts to get a response feel on deaf ears until we contacted our MP."

Iain Duncan Smith and area director of Network Rail Andy Boyle visited the garden to assess the damage.

Mr Boyle said: "We are sorry about the damage to Mr and Mrs Watling’s garden and have agreed to replace their fence and look into what happened.  

"It appears to be an operational error or a fault with the equipment used to carry out routine maintenance along the track. 

Neighbours within Manor Way have also experience minor damage said Mrs Watling, and Network Rail has said they will be contacting other local residents who may have been affected.

Mr Duncan Smith said he was "very pleased Network Rail had admitted fault it is always great when public organisations respond in such a positive manner."