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Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing and strong clump-forming perennial plant that is not native to the UK. The pests and diseases that control the plant in Japan are not present in the UK, allowing it to grow to extreme proportions.

Japanese knotweed is extremely invasive and thrives on disturbance. The tiniest piece can re-grow and spread. It causes problems because it:

• Can force its way through concrete or brick, causing damage to buildings
• Grows in thick clusters, preventing native plants from growing
• Is very persistent and difficult to get rid of

If you are unsure whether or not a plant growing on your property is Japanese knotweed, the guide on the Non-Native Species Secretariat website can be used to help identify it.

You can get information on how to control and dispose of Japanese knotweed on GOV.UK as well as on the RHS website.

You must not:

• Put any part of it in your garden waste bin, black wheelie bin or compost bin
• Take it to a tip, recycling centre or waste transfer station
• Dump or fly-tip cuttings

You must prevent Japanese knotweed spreading from your land. If you allow it to spread onto someone else’s property, they could take a private legal action against you.

If you believe you have Japanese knotweed growing in your garden or on your land, you should deal with it as quickly as possible following the advice above.

You may also wish to consider appointing a specialist contractor to deal with the problem on your behalf. It would be advisable to notify your neighbours if you believe you have Japanese knotweed in your garden, in order for them to ascertain whether it is present in their gardens. Early identification and treatment will contain the plants from further spreading.

If you believe that your neighbours have Japanese knotweed growing in their garden and that it has spread, or there is a risk of it spreading to your garden, you should try and speak with them in the first instance. Your neighbours may be unaware that there is even an issue.

You should ask them to confirm that they will put a management plan in place in accordance with government advice to control the spread to your garden.

If this doesn’t work, you may wish to use a mediation service.

If you are still not able to resolve the issue, you could consider taking up a private legal action.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended by the Infrastructure Act 2015)

There are provisions within the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended by the Infrastructure Act 2015) for ‘Environmental Authorities’ to make species control agreements or issue species control orders so as to control or eradicate invasive species.

Local authorities do not constitute Environmental Authorities and therefore cannot enforce under this legislation. You may however wish to contact the Environment Agency to see if they would consider taking action.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

Under the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, local authorities can issue a Community Protection Notice (CPN) to an individual or body if their behaviour is:

• Having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality
• Unreasonable
• Of a persistent or continuing nature

In order for a notice to be served the detrimental effect must be felt by the community, not just by a single neighbour. We would only consider issuing a Community Protection Notice with respect to Japanese knotweed where land owners are taking no action and, as a result, this is causing the plant to significantly spread and impact upon the community. If you believe this to be the case, please contact Environmental Health to discuss the matter further.