Japanese knotweed in Urban areas
Considering all the controversy surrounding Japanese knotweed, it may come as a surprise that it is not against the law to have Japanese knotweed on your land. There is, however, an incredible amount of legislation regarding the spread of Japanese knotweed and perceived responsibility for allowing it to spread.
The penalties for ignoring Japanese knotweed legislation go a lot further than a slap on the wrist too, with fines running into the thousands and the potential for jail time a possibility.
Property owners are expected to take reasonable steps to prevent non-native species from escaping or spreading into the wild or adjoining private land such as a garden.
The owner(s) of adjoining land can take civil legal action against you as a nuisance neighbour, potentially resulting in prosecution or fines.
Japanese knotweed in the wild
On July 2nd, 2012, the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 came into force. This act implemented further invasive controls that were missing from the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which was in use until 2012.
The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 has specific points regarding Japanese knotweed. Under the act, it is an offence to intentionally plant Japanese knotweed, or any invasive species, in the wild that is outwith its native range. This stands whether it is planted either intentionally or unintentionally.
The full Code of Practice on Non-Native Species in Scotland can be viewed on The Scottish Government's website.
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.
Is my neighbour responsible for encroaching knotweed?
In the unfortunate instance that a neighbouring property is responsible for Japanese knotweed encroaching onto your property, then a Species Control Agreement (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 Species Code of Practice.
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.
Environment Agency on Knotweed
Find more about what the government have to say on knotweed with this information from The Environment Agency.Find out more
RICS on Japanese knotweed problems
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is the most respected body in our industry. See what they have to say about knotweed.Find out more
Speak to a Japanese knotweed expert
Still unsure regarding the legislation above? If so, it is always advisable to seek professional advice to ensure that you do not fall foul of the law. At Wise Knotweed Solutions, you can speak to us for help and advice or, alternatively, we can conduct a Japanese knotweed survey and if necessary, we can offer a tailored Japanese knotweed treatment solution specifically design with your property in mind.