Dealing with Japanese Knotweed
Japanese knotweed (fallopia japonica) is a persistent invasive plant. it is a problem because:
- It spreads easily
- It thrives on disturbance and the tiniest piece can re-grow
- It is difficult to control and eradicate
- It can cause structural damage to buildings
What the law says
Japanese knotweed is listed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as a plant that is not to be planted or otherwise introduced into the wild. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 also lists it as 'controlled waste' to be disposed of properly. There is a legal obligation not to cause it to spread if it occurs on your land.
If you have Japanese knotweed on your land, you may be causing a private nuisance to surrounding properties. You should control the Japanese knotweed to prevent further spreading.
How to prevent Japanese knotweed from spreading
There are several ways you can prevent the weed from spreading and causing a private nuisance:
- Spray with chemicals (you must only use approved herbicides)
- Bury it at a depth of at least five metres, making sure the plant remains are covered with a material that does not allow the plant to grow
- Burn it: you must tell must tell the Environment Agency at least a week before you burn it and the environmental health officer at your local council
More details on how to prevent Japanese knotweed from spreading.
When we take action
If Japanese knotweed on a neighbouring property is causing a nuisance to you, we would always recommend that you co-operate with the landowner and seek to control the problem amicably, rather than resort to legal action. This is an issue under Common Law and the Council has no powers in this situation.
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014 provides broad, discretionary powers to enable steps to be taken for land to be cleared when its condition adversely affects the amenity of the area. However, the council will not generally take any formal action because of the extensive treatment period necessary to destroy the plant.
You can contact the Environment Agency for help if you:
- have more questions about how to handle Japanese knotweed
- want to find out more about when you need a licence to dispose of Japanese knotweed
- want to complain about waste producers who are not telling people they employ how to transfer Japanese knotweed – this is breaking the rules on their waste duty of care
National Customer Contact Centre
PO Box 544