Legislation covering the handling and disposal of knotweed includes the following:
The Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 require any person who uses a pesticide to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health of human beings, creatures and plants, safeguard the environment and in particular avoid the pollution of water. For application of pesticides in or near water approval from the Environment Agency should be sought before use.
All staff are fully trained and hold their NPTC PA1, PA6 and PA6W in pesticide spraying and are covered by a £2 million Public Liability Insurance policy.
It is an offence to plant or cause Japanese Knotweed to spread under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).
Section 14(2) of theWildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981) states that “…if any person plants or otherwise causes to grow in the wild any plant which is included in Part II of Schedule 9, he shall be guilty of an offence.” Japanese knotweed is one of the plants listed in Schedule 9. Anyone convicted of an offence under Section 14 of the WCA 1981 may face a fine of £5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment.
Allowing any Japanese knotweed to escape from your land could attract third party litigation action and/or civil proceedings against you. If you allow knotweed to spread onto an adjacent property an order could be served under nuisance legislation. Not taking appropriate measures to dispose of Japanese knotweed could easily result in spreading knotweed and therefore breaking the law.
Anti Social Behaviour Law 2014
The Police, Environment Agency and Local Authorities are not obliged to control Japanese knotweed on behalf of a landowner. Responsibility usually rests on the landlord or tenant of the land.
However, recently reformed powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 can now be used against a property owner if it can be proven that their Japanese knotweed is having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those nearby.
Additionally, in early 2014, the Law Commission issued guidance for the introduction of Species Control Agreements and Species Control Orders to encourage, or force, landowners to take action to stop invasive non-native species that arise on their property from affecting their neighbours.