Homeowners failing to control Japanese knotweed on their property can now be prosecuted and fined up to £2,500 under new Home Office rules relating to anti-social behaviour.
These plants are now listed as "serious problems" and have harsh new penalties to reflect this.
Anyone ignoring species control orders relating to Japanese knotweed will not only be given the £2,500 fine but will also have committed a criminal offence.
Japanese knotweed ASBOs?
Although legislation already exists to deal with Japanese knotweed this is the first time such plants have been specifically named in anti-social behaviour laws; these laws being more commonly associated with vandalism and intimidating behaviour via the infamous but now defunct Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs).
Up until recently, legislation has had the ability issue fines and even jail time for anyone planting Japanese knotweed in the wild but the new guidance specifically looks at the problem in residential areas. This will give greater clarity and legal muscle for anyone in an ongoing dispute with their neighbours over Japanese knotweed invading their garden.
Wise Knotweed Solutions receive a large number of enquiries through our contact form regarding knotweed in residential areas so we think this news will be welcomed by anyone who knows about the physical and financial detriment Japanese knotweed can cause to a property.
More on the new knotweed laws
The new document is called "Reform of anti-social behaviour powers: Japanese Knotweed and other invasive non-native plants".
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "[Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed] threaten our native biodiversity by crowding out native species and destabilising river banks. They can also cause damage to forestry, agriculture and infrastructure sectors.
"The notice can be used to require someone to control or prevent the growth of Japanese knotweed or other plants that are capable of causing serious problems to communities,
"Breach of any requirement of a community protection notice, without reasonable excuse, would be a criminal offence."
Penalties can vary from an on-the-spot fine of £100 to prosecution and a £2,500 fine. Organisations or companies flouting these new laws could also be fined up to £20,000.