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Japanese Knotweed Legislation discussed by South Wales Knotweed Removal

Japanese Knotweed Legislation is complicated and sometimes difficult to understand. South Wales Knotweed Removal are experts in Japanese Knotweed and are a family run business that offers a genuine, honest and reliable service. We can provide you with advice if you think you may have Japanese Knotweed and will do a full site assessment to confirm if you have Japanese Knotweed with advice as to what you should do.

Our Japanese Knotweed Legislation article gives you all of the information you need but don’t be alarmed as we can quickly establish if you have Japanese Knotweed or not and advise you of the best course of action if you need us.

There are several pieces of Japanese Knotweed Legislation which cover the handling and disposal of Japanese Knotweed and we have summarised the main points for you below.

Section 14(2) of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981) – Japanese Knotweed Legislation

States that “if any person plants or otherwise cause to grow any plant which is included in part II of schedule 9 in the wild, he shall be guilty of an offence” (JK is one of the plants listed in the schedule). Anyone convicted of an offence under S.14 of the WCA 1981 may face a fine of £5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment, or 2 years and/or an unlimited fine on indictment.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990) – Japanese Knotweed – Controlled Waste Legislation

Contains a number of legal provisions concerning “controlled waste”, which are set out in part II. Any Japanese Knotweed contaminated soil or plant material that you discard, intend to discard or are required to discard is likely to be classified as controlled waste. In simple terms, it has strict disposal conditions and must be taken to a landfill site designated by the local authority for the area and would require special waste transfer documentation, meaning the ‘carrier’ is required to be in possession of a ‘waste transfer license’. It can not be discarded in conventional green recycling bins.

The Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005 (HWR 2005) – Japanese Knotweed – Hazardous Waste Legislation

Similar to the EPA 1990, whilst ‘untreated’ Japanese Knotweed is not considered as Hazardous Waste, any Japanese Knotweed which has been treated with certain herbicides will likely require certain documentation which should contain details about the hazardous properties and any special handling requirements.

The Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 – Pesticide Legislation

Require any person who uses a pesticide to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health of human beings, creatures & plants, safeguard the environment and in particular avoid the pollution of water. For the application of pesticides in or near water, approval from the Environment Agency should be sought before use.

Common-Law

Requires any person to take ‘reasonable action’ to contain any plant on their land and recommends that landowners work in co-operation with neighbours whilst retaining a careful record of management. Taking ‘reasonable steps’ (such as control action) to contain any plants is highly likely to provide landowners with clear evidence in the event of any criminal or civil proceedings.

National Infrastructure Act 2015 – Invasive Non-Native Species Legislation

Introduces much-needed powers to control invasive non-native species in England & Wales. The measures provide government agencies in England and Wales with powers to enter into control agreements and, if necessary control orders with landowners to ensure action can be taken against harmful species on their land.

When Selling a Property

The Law Society’s TA6 property information form requires sellers to state whether the property is affected by Japanese knotweed. If you answer untruthfully, your buyer can come back to you and either rescind the contract or claim damages from you. We have personally been involved in several disputes, whereby a property has been sold and the previous owner has deliberately concealed any physical evidence of Japanese Knotweed on the property and have clearly lied on the TA6 form. In all cases, the new owners have sought redress.

Japanese Knotweed Legislation FAQ’s

Do you have to report if you have Japanese Knotweed?

You don’t have to report if you have Japanese Knotweed as it isn’t a notifiable weed and it isn’t an offence to have it on your land. However, the Section 14(2) of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981) states that “if any person plants or otherwise causes or allows any plant to grow which is included in part II of schedule 9 in the wild, he shall be guilty of an offence”. Japanese Knotweed is a plant listed in the schedule. Anyone convicted of an offence under S.14 of the WCA 1981 may face a fine of £5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment, or 2 years and/or an unlimited fine on indictment. Allowing Japanese Knotweed to spread to neighbouring properties or into the wild may also be viewed as a private nuisance under common law and if this is the case can be deemed as a civil matter.

What should I do if a neighbour has Japanese Knotweed on their land?

There is no legal obligation for a neighbour to remove Japanese Knotweed, however, if it starts to grow onto your land or property then it can be viewed as a private nuisance under common law and deemed as a civil matter and be open to court proceedings. Our advice would be to talk to them about it and see what their response is.

Is it illegal to have Japanese knotweed on your land?

It isn’t illegal to have Japanese Knotweed on your land and it is not a notifiable weed, however, it is an offence to cause or allow Japanese knotweed to spread in the wild or onto neighbouring properties under Section 14(2) of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981) as it is one of the plants listed in the schedule.

What permanently kills Japanese knotweed?

To effectively remove Japanese Knotweed specific and controlled herbicides should be used by a qualified Knotweed expert who will use the right removal and control method and have the expertise and understanding to abide by Knotweed removal and waste legislation.

Do property surveyors check for Japanese knotweed?

RICS qualified property surveyors are trained to look for large masses which could show an invasive plant infestation and they are expected to keep up to date with ongoing developments in regards to their profession including the risks of Japanese Knotweed. They won’t, however, survey land and property in a huge amount of detail so if there is a small amount of growth or the start of Japanese Knotweed this may not be picked up in their survey. If you think there may or could be Japanese Knotweed on a property you are looking to buy then you should inform the surveyor and always get a Japanese Knotweed specialist to complete a full site survey for you.

Can I get a mortgage with Japanese knotweed?

Mortgage lenders are very cautious about lending money for any properties that are affected by Japanese knotweed, however, it’s not impossible to find a mortgage lender. Mortgage lenders concerns will be that a property with Japanese Knotweed may have a negative impact on its resell value and won’t be secure for a mortgage as well as you having difficulties in selling it.

Should you buy a property which has Japanese knotweed?

You will nearly always find it more difficult to get a mortgage when buying a property with Japanese Knotweed and you should always remember it will be difficult to sell again. Removing knotweed can take years and you should always use a qualified Japanese Knotweed specialist. Before you buy a property with Knotweed we would always advise that you arrange for a Japanese Knotweed specialist to come round and survey the property and land first. They will offer you advise and tell you the cost to remove or control it and provide you with a detailed report.

Do estate agents have to disclose a property has Japanese knotweed?

If Japanese Knotweed has been disclosed to an estate agent then are legally required to inform any prospective buyers if knotweed is present on the property as this can affect their decision to buy. The Law Society’s TA6 property information form requires sellers to state whether the property is affected by Japanese knotweed. If you answer untruthfully a buyer can come back and either legally retract the purchase contract or claim damages from the seller.

Can you remove Japanese knotweed yourself?

Some people say they have removed it themselves, however, in truth, it is not common for it to be completely eradicated unless a qualified Japanese Knotweed specialist has used the correct method of removal, control and disposal. Removing knotweed is very difficult without specialist herbicides and knowledge as only one tiny enzyme/root will result in it spreading and regrowing quickly. There is also legislation which includes strict disposal conditions. It must be taken to a landfill site designated by the local authority for the area and it requires special waste transfer documentation, which means the ‘carrier’ is required to be in possession of a ‘waste transfer license’. It can not and must not be discarded in conventional green recycling bins. For more information see; The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990).

Is it illegal to remove Japanese knotweed yourself?

It isn’t illegal to remove Japanese Knotweed yourself, however, there is lots of legislation around the removal, control and disposal. Removing knotweed is very difficult without specialist herbicides and knowledge as one tiny rhizomes root left will result in it spreading and regrowing. There is also legislation which includes strict disposal conditions. It must be taken to a landfill site designated by the local authority for the area and it requires special waste transfer documentation, meaning the ‘carrier’ is required to be in possession of a ‘waste transfer license’. It can not be discarded in conventional green recycling bins. For more information see; The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA 1990).

It is classified as an invasive species and is, therefore, the responsibility of the landowner to prevent it from spreading to neighbouring land (or into the wild), and its removal must be conducted in line with all legislation and with care, attention and expertise.

How much can Japanese Knotweed devalue a house?

Japanese knotweed is known to have reduced the value of properties by an average of 10 per cent and will make it very difficult to sell.

How fast does Japanese Knotweed grow?

During its peak growing season in the summer, it can grow up to 10cm a day and will quickly grow out of control if not treated by a qualified Japanese Knotweed specialist.

Can Japanese knotweed grow through concrete?

This is a bit of a myth as it cant grow through solid concrete, it will, however, exploit gaps, cracks or joints in hard surfaces like paving, old brickwork, concrete, piping and will aggressively grow to find its way through to the daylight.

How do you identify Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese knotweed leaves are normally identified by their shovel or heart-shaped leaves. The leaves have a point at the tip and are staggered on the stem with one stem per node, creating a zig-zag stem growth pattern. They are a bright and rich green colour and can grow up to 20cm long.

Japanese knotweed flowers are long clusters of creamy white flowers which appear towards the end of summer early September. The clusters can grow to around 0.5cm wide and up to 10cm long. The leaves remain as the flowers grow which result in thick foliage.

Japanese knotweed rhizomes are the root part of the plant which grow extensively and quickly underground. The outside of the stem is dark brown and the inside is orange/yellow. The fresh stems will be crisp and will snap easily when bent. The rhizomes can grow up to 3 metres in-depth and up to 7 metres horizontally from the plant and is how it is most likely to spread from just one tiny fragment, as little as 0.7g can create a new knotweed plant.

Japanese knotweed stems can grow up to 2-3 metres high, sometimes more and they look similar to Bamboo which is why it is often referred to as bamboo. They can grow 10cm a day and 20cm at its most prolific. They have nodes and purple speckles and the leaves grow outwards from the nodes in a zig-zag type pattern. As the weed matures the stems inside become hollow making them easy to snap in two and during the winter the stems become very brittle.

Japanese Knotweed LegislationJapanese Knotweed is a perennial plant and its appearance changes with the seasons:

Spring – Japanese knotweed grows fastest during springtime and can reach 3 plus metres high. Its new shoots emerge with a red/purple tinge and are often referred to as looking like asparagus spears. The leaves normally roll up and are dark green or tinged with red.

Summer – By early summer, the plant is fully grown and reaches over 3 metres tall and by late summer clusters of creamy white flowers will appear.

Autumn – In Autumn the leaves start to turn yellow and will wilt, however, the density of its leaves remain. It can still be over 3 metres high and the hollow stems start to turn brown.

Winter – At the beginning of winter, the knotweed canes will die off, it is still very much alive just isn’t actively growing. The leaves will change to a yellow colour, then into brown and fall off. The hollow canes become dark brown and brittle and they give way against each other, falling to the ground. In springtime, as the weed starts to actively grow again, you will see the previous year’s canes lying underneath the foliage.

South Wales Knotweed Removal Specialists

South Wales Knotweed Removal Specialists cover South Wales (including Milford Haven, Swansea, Cardiff and Newport), West Wales up to North Ceredigion & Powys and throughout South Glamorgan & Gwent. We also carry out contracts in the West Country, as far North as Shropshire and into the Midlands & Birmingham areas.

We are a family run business and are a fully qualified Japanese Knotweed Certificated Surveyor (JKCS). We specialise in controlling Japanese Knotweed, other invasive plant varieties and ‘general nuisance weeds’ which are found in the UK for residential premises and property development sites.

We also provide tree services, such as pollarding, crowning, pruning, felling, through our NPTC chainsaw operators, all of whom possess a vast amount of experience within the forestry industry.

Our Qualifications & Accreditations include:

  • City & Guilds NPTC Level 2
  • Principles of Safe Handling & Application of Pesticides (PA1/ PA6)
  • Principles of Safe Handling & Application of Pesticides near water (PA6AW)
  • Herbicide Stem Injection
  • Property Care Association
  • The Control & Eradication of Japanese Knotweed Surveyor’s Training Course
  • Qualified Technician (PCAQT) in Japanese Knotweed
  • Accredited Surveyor in Japanese Knotweed

If you think you may have or are concerned you may have Japanese Knotweed we offer a free site survey and will identify if you have knotweed as well as offer you advice on the actions you should take and provide you with a full and detailed written report.

If you need guidance or more information on Japanese Knotweed Legislation contact us on 01269 591651 or 07531142316 and one of our experts can answer any questions you might have, or arrange a free a site visit and assessment for you.

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