Professional advice should always be sought regarding the legalities of Japanese knotweed as it is a complex and new area of law, the following points can be used for basic guidance. Although not illegal to have Japanese knotweed on your land:
- Japanese knotweed could be deemed as private nuisance where Japanese knotweed causes someone unreasonable interference with the enjoyment or use of their land
- It is an offence to plant or otherwise allow Japanese knotweed to spread in the wild under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
- Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 all Japanese knotweed material including contaminated soils are classed as “controlled waste”
- Under the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005 if certain herbicides have been used it could be classes as a “hazardous waste”.
- Both controlled and hazardous wastes have very specific transportation and disposal regulations.
- Planning conditions to treat Japanese knotweed can be enforced so developers have to treat knotweed Under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990
- If a vendor omits information or lies about a property being affected by Japanese knotweed on the TA6 Property Information Form (since 2013) you could be in breach of the Misrepresentation Act 1965.
- Under the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 it is a legal requirement to be appropriately qualified for using, storing and transporting professional herbicides or if you are paid to apply any herbicide
- Under the Crime and Policing Act 2014 where knotweed is proved to have a detrimental effect on quality of life, an Anti-Social Control Order (ASBOs) can be brought against those who fail to act.
- Also under the Infrastructure Act 2015 in Wales, Welsh Ministers and Natural Resources Wales (others in other UK counties) are able to serve ‘Species Control Agreements’ & ‘Orders’ on land owners who allow non-native invasive species to establish on their land.
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