Japanese knotweed legislation

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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.

Japanese knotweed Legislation in Urban areas

Due to its destructive nature, Japanese knotweed in residential areas is now legislated under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act. Anyone ignoring a Japanese knotweed ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) can be charged and receive:

  • On the spot penalties of up to £100
  • Criminal prosecution and fines of up to £2,500
  • Companies and business can also be fined up to £20,000

The above fines and penalties cover negligence and lack of care regarding knotweed, but if it can be proven that Japanese knotweed has deliberately been planted on other peoples land then more severe penalties can be incurred. These include:

  • 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 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. 

To find out more, simply contact us onlinefind your local branch or call us on 0808 231 9218 and speak to one of our Japanese knotweed specialists.

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