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The law

The laws and legislation regarding Japanese Knotweed differ depending on which part of the UK you are in. The 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act refers to England, Wales and Northern Ireland; whereas Scotland is covered under the 2011 Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act.

What if Japanese Knotweed intrudes onto your land?

You should speak with your neighbor about how they plan to deal with the Japanese knotweed issue. Without causing any unneeded disagreement, highlight why Japanese knotweed is a problem. You shouldn’t seek legal action straight away, as your neighbor may not be aware of the issue. From our experience, it is very common to find that most people do not know what Japanese Knotweed is, and it can be difficult to identify at first.

Japanese Knotweed legislation in the UK

Although it is not against the law to have Japanese Knotweed on your land, the law regarding Japanese Knotweed states that it is an offence to cause or knowingly allow it to spread. Due to the destructive nature of the invasive weed, if Japanese Knotweed spreads or invades your neighbour’s land you can be charged, and potentially receive:

  • A conviction, a fine of up to £5,000 and/or six months in prison.
  • A conviction on indictment to a fine and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years.

Japanese Knotweed legislation in Scotland

On July 2nd, 2012, the 2011 Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act came into force.It implemented further controls than the existing 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act provided. The new Japanese Knotweed legislation states that it is an offence to intentionally plant Japanese Knotweed, or any invasive plant species outside of its native range in the wild. Whether it is planted intentionally or unintentionally.

The full Code of Practice on Non-Native Species in Scotland can be viewed on the Scottish Government’s website.

The law regarding the disposal of Japanese Knotweed

There are many legal factors affecting the disposal of Japanese Knotweed. Legislation states that Japanese Knotweed is classed as controlled waste, and if not disposed of correctly, may lead to prosecution under section 34 of the 1990 Environmental Protection Act (EPA).

Any cut Japanese Knotweed material and soil that contains rhizomes must be disposed of as a controlled waste. This means that they must be taken to a licensed landfill site. If you are transporting Japanese Knotweed waste you need a Waste Carrier’s license. If you fail to show this license, you can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £300.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) can enforce the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) if they believe a waste offence has been committed. SEPA should also be contacted before any treatment or movement of Japanese Knotweed or Japanese Knotweed contaminated soil.

If Japanese knotweed encroaches on my land, what is my neighbours responsibilty?

In the unfortunate instance that a neighbouring property is responsible for Japanese Knotweed growing over onto your property, then a Species Control Agreement (SCA) can be entered into between all parties involved. When the responsible party fails to recognise a SCA, it can result in a Species Control Order (SCO) being issued under the Non-Native Species Code of Practice.
If you are concerned that you may have Japanese Knotweed on your property, call Weedtec as soon as possible. Our Manchester-based team will be more than happy to come to you and put your mind at ease.

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