Japanese Knotweed and the law

Japanese Knotweed has caused such destruction to the environment and property over the last 150 years that it has become an important legislative issue. It can seriously devalue your home and also stop a buyer from getting a mortgage if you are looking to buy.

Japanese knotweed law: your legal responsibility

Section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (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”. This could include cutting the plant or roots and disturbing surrounding soil if not correctly managed. If Japanese knotweed is found on-site, it should be left undisturbed. Advice should then be sought on the most appropriate cost-effective method of control.

Japanese knotweed as controlled waste

Not only is Japanese Knotweed listed under Schedule 9 of Section 14 of the WCA which lists plant and animal species that are: “not ordinarily resident in and is not a regular visitor to Great Britain in a wild state”, it is also classed by Environmental Protection Act (Duty of Care Regulations 1991) as “controlled waste”.

This means that it important waste transfer notes should be kept to demonstrate complaince. PBA Solutions is an Environment Agency-licensed waste carrier able to undertake Japanese knotweed removal to landfill.

Did you know?

As Japanese Knotweed is one of the plants listed under Schedule 9, anyone who undertakes any activity that leads the growth of this invasive weed in the wild is committing a criminal offence. This includes fly-tipping Japanese Knotweed clippings and deliberately planting it. Anyone convicted of an offence under Section 14 of this Act may face a fine of £5,000 and/or up to 2 years in prison.

When selling property the vendor will ordinarily complete a Law Society Form (TA6) where they are legally required to honestly answer questions about their property. The form now requires vendors to disclose information regarding or relating to Japanese knotweed previously or currently present within or the curtailment of the property. Failure to correctly answer questions relating to Japanese knotweed would make the vendor liable to claims from the buyer when they subsequently find out the vendor mislead them.

Surveyors and valuers who complete surveys for mortgage lenders are also obliged by their professional membership to identify Japanese knotweed. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) make surveyors and valuers comply through their Red Book policy which states that they should be able to identify Japanese knotweed and bring it to the attention of both lenders and buyers. 

Japanese knotweed control solutions

If you’re looking to buy or sell a property that may be affected by Japanese Knotweed, call the experts at PBA Knotweed Solutions on 0203 174 2187 and we’ll organise a free site survey. Our treatments and services last up to 10 years, are Environment Agency-compliant and backed by insurers.

If you are a construction manager who has found Japanese Knotweed on a site, immediately fence off the area and contact us to obtain the Environment Agency Knotweed Code of Practice (free publication) which details how a knotweed management plan should be employed. You can do this by emailing [email protected].