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

What if Japanese knotweed encroaches on your land?

You should consult with your neighbour about how they plan to deal with the Japanese knotweed issue. Without causing a dispute, highlight why Japanese knotweed is a problem. Do not seek legal action straight away as your neighbour 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.

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 it to spread. Due to the destructive nature of the invasive weed, if Japanese knotweed spreads encroaches onto your neighbour’s land you can be charged and 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 Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 came into force that has implemented further controls than the existing Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provided. The new Japanese knotweed legislation states that it is an offence to intentionally plant Japanese knotweed, or any invasive species, in the wild that is out with its native range. This stands for whether it is planted either intentionally or unintentionally.

The full Code of Practice on Non-Native Species in Scotland can be viewed on the 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 Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990.

Any cut Japanese Knotweed material and soil that contain 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. Failure to show the 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 Knotweed contaminated soil.

japanese knotweed

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 encroaching onto you property, then a Species Control Agreegment (SCA) can be entered into between all persons involved. Failure of a responsible party to recognise a SCA can result in a Species Control Order (SCO) being issued under the Non-Native Specis Code of Practice.