Japanese Knotweed Prosecutions

Japanese Knotweed could leave you prosecuted and short of up to £20,000.
Failing to control Japanese Knotweed could leave you prosecuted and short of £2,500 if you are a home owner or up to £20,000 if you are a business.

People who fail to control Japanese Knotweed in their gardens – to the extent that it affects the quality of life of those around them – could find themselves fined thousands of pounds or receiving a community protection notice.

Breach of any requirement of a community protection notice, without reasonable excuse, would be a criminal offence, subject to a fixed penalty notice. On summary conviction, an individual would be liable to a fine of anything up to £2,500 for an individual and £20,000 for an organisation or business.

Companies that take action may be able to offset the cost of treating and controlling knotweed. Rates of relief vary according to circumstance but companies will have to find out if they are eligible.

Under the scheme, the legislation can be used to order an individual to prevent the growth and spread of ‘plants that are capable of causing serious problems to communities.’ An individual can also complain to the council or the police about an invasive plant in a neighbour’s property which threatens their home or land.

Japanese Knotweed By Leonora Enking – CC BY-SA 2.0

“I have noticed a huge influx of enquiries about Knotweed eradication from home owners since the new anti-social behaviour laws came into play. This is a very serious issue that could cost them a lot of money and I think they are panicking.” – John Bailey owner of Sussex Knotweed

So what’s all the fuss about?

Japanese Knotweed can grow up to 10cm a day and has the ability to spread and pose serious threats to biodiversity, by crowding out native species and destabilising river banks. It is also known to cause damage to forestry, agriculture and infrastructure sectors.  It is also known to cause:

Damage to tarmac and paving areas
Damage to building foundations
Damage to retaining wall structures
Reduction in property values

With its abilities to grow through walls and concrete it’s no wonder property owners are very concerned if they find this on their property.

Do you have Japanese Knotweed? 

You should look for

Red tinged roots and bamboo-like stems
Leaves are ovate with a flat base, reaching 3-6 inches long and 2-5 inches wide with pointed tips.
Clusters of greenish-white flowers around July time, that attract a lot of bees
Fruit is small and white with wings that help to disperse seeds to new sites
Brown dead looking stems after it’s died back in September/November time
Dense clumps of overgrown plants

Many ways have been suggested as to how Japanese Knotweed should be controlled, with an estimated cost of completely eradicating the plant in Britain coming to £1.25 billion. If you notice Japanese Knotweed growing on amenity land or in a built up area it would be helpful to submit a record to plant tracker to help protect the environment.

If you think you have found the plant in your own back garden get in touch with a Knotweed specialist for a site survey and consultation.