Japanese Knotweed and the Law in the UK
If left to grow out of control, japanese knotweed can become not only an expensive issue, but a legal one too. Ignorance is not an excuse when it comes to dealing with this invasive weed, so it is important you know exactly where the law stands.
The law states that while you do not legally have to remove Japanese Knotweed from your own land, it is a crime to allow it to spread onto somebody else’s property. If this is found to be the case, you may be prosecuted or given a community protection notice for causing a nuisance.
The law also states that, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to allow Japanese Knotweed to spread into the wild, whether knowingly or otherwise. As we will explore below, this is important to consider when disposing of waste which might be contaminated with the invasive weed.
Preventing the spread of Japanese Knotweed
If you have discovered Japanese Knotweed growing on land that you own, it is your responsibility to take measures to prevent it spreading.
The most effective way to do this is to call in the help of a specialist, as Knotweed is notoriously difficult to get rid of by yourself. Over the counter weed killers are often not enough to kill the plant; at the very least they will take years of careful and repetitive use to see any results.
Attempting to dig it up and remove it yourself is not recommended either, as in doing so you may end up spreading it further, making the damage worse. Small pieces of rhizome (the root system) can remain dormant and regrow to full size again. This means that even if you could dig up the sometimes 7 metre deep roots, disposing of the waste afterwards is a complex procedure.
Disposing of Japanese Knotweed
Because it is classed as controlled waste, it is an illegal offence to allow any contaminated soil or plant material to spread into the wild. If found guilty, you may be fined up to £5000 or sent to prison for a maximum of 2 years.
When disposing of Japanese Knotweed, or contaminated soil, it is a legal requirement that you use a registered waste carrier who will dispose of it at a licensed facility. Failure to do so may result in this contaminated waste finding its way into the wild, which if traced back to you could lead to prosecution.
A specialist Japanese Knotweed management company will be able to deal with the treatment and the removal of the invasive weed, taking this complicated issue out of your hands.
What if your neighbour has Japanese Knotweed?
If your neighbour has allowed Japanese Knotweed to encroach onto your land, you may be able to open legal proceedings against them. However, it can be beneficial for both parties if the problem is dealt with way before it reaches this stage.
We would recommend approaching your neighbour first, to ask if they are willing to take measures to treat the outbreak of Knotweed. At CYB Environmental, we have a very high success rate in eradicating this problematic plant, so you could recommend that they get in touch with us to get the issue dealt with! Kindly inform your neighbour that treating the problem now will be much more cost effective than potentially facing property damage or even a hefty fine later down the line.
Get in touch
If you need help with removing Japanese Knotweed from your property and avoiding any legal complications, get in touch with CYB Environmental today. Our team are ideally located to service London, the South of England and Wales. Call us on 020 3005 8755 or click here to fill out a contact form and we will get back to you ASAP.