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Who Is Qualified To Remove Japanese Knotweed

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  • Admin
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  • Japanese knotweed, Property responsibility, Removal methods, Treatment and control, Legal position
  • Posted date:
  • 21-06-2023
Who Is Qualified To Remove Japanese Knotweed

Who is qualified to remove Japanese Knotweed? Find out what to do if you have Knotweed on your land or property. Kingsfield Environmental are Japanese Knotweed specialists working throughout the UK. We look at who is responsible for clearing Japanese Knotweed and if you need a licence to remove Japanese Knotweed.

If you have knotweed on your land or property

If you have Japanese knotweed growing on your property, it's your responsibility to stop it spreading. Any soil or plant material contaminated with these non-native, invasive plants can spread them to other properties. These plants can cause serious ecological damage and any plant waste from them is classified as controlled waste.

It isn't illegal to have Japanese knotweed on your property. However, if it is causing issues for your neighbours or is rapidly spreading across your property boundary you can be prosecuted. This also applies if you allow the knotweed to spread from your property into the wild.

How Do You Stop Invasive Plants From Spreading?

Do You Need a Licence to Remove Japanese Knotweed?

In short, you do not need any kind of licence to remove Japanese knotweed from your property. However, the legality of dealing with knotweed varies slightly throughout the UK. The law in each country is mostly the same, that it is illegal for you to allow the knotweed to spread, but there are different acts in different countries determining this.

For England and Wales, it is Section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 that determines the legality of dealing with knotweed. The same act was used in Scotland until the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2012. Therefore, if you have Japanese knotweed on your property, you should check which of these acts applies to your position.

Again, Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant species, and it is your responsibility to prevent it from spreading outside your property. Even if it grows into wild or council-owned areas, it is still a crime and you can face prosecution. Therefore, you must prevent it from spreading as best you can.

If you plan to remove the Japanese knotweed from your property, you must do so with great care. Any plant material you leave or fail to securely get rid of can sprout new plants. Knotweed spreads incredibly quickly, and unless you take great care, you could accidentally make things worse. Again, you do not have to remove any knotweed on your property, but you must not let it grow out of control.

Who is Responsible for Clearing Japanese Knotweed?

If the Japanese knotweed is growing on your side of a property boundary, it is your responsibility to manage or clear it. Remember, it's a criminal offence to allow any invasive plants to grow and spread to other properties. As the responsible party, any issues caused by plants on your land could get you into serious legal trouble.

It's best to remove any Japanese knotweed as soon as you notice it. Catching things early should give you the best chance of removing it entirely. There are two main ways of removing Japanese knotweed: excavation or herbicide treatments.

Who Is Qualified To Remove Japanese Knotweed - Japanese Knotweed Specialists UK

Both methods are complex and require professional assistance. Qualified specialists are also the best people to dispose of any waste material. Invasive plants are a controlled material, meaning you must dispose of it in the right way. Professional landscapers or gardening experts will know how to do this.

If you notice any knotweed growing on your neighbour's property, you should discuss this with them as soon as possible. Any invasive plants that are near your property boundary pose a threat to your land and your home. The legal responsibility works both ways. If the knotweed on your neighbour's property spreads to yours, you can take legal action against them for causing a nuisance.

Your local authority can also take legal action against you if you allow Japanese knotweed to spread to publicly owned land. If you do not make adequate efforts to manage or remove the Japanese knotweed, you could face serious penalties.

If the issue is with your neighbour, you can talk to your local council about speaking to them as well. Your council can insist that your neighbour takes action to address the knotweed, potentially saving your property from severe damage.

Treatment and control of Japanese knotweed

When dealing with Japanese knotweed, you should never strim, mow or flail it. This will only increase the chances of the plant spreading. If this happens, then you have committed the offence you were trying to avoid. You must take great care when controlling or removing knotweed.

Trimming the knotweed or digging it up are also ineffective ways of treating it. This is especially true if the knotweed is already well-established, where it would take years for these methods to have an effect. The main issue with Japanese knotweed is the underground rhizomes.

Knotweed has an extensive rhizome network below the ground, potentially extending several metres down. Therefore, clearing them all would take serious excavation work. These rhizomes are how the knotweed spreads so quickly. Wherever these rhizomes reach, new plants can sprout, leading to infestation and damage.

Treatment and control of Japanese knotweed

Even if you manage to excavate all the rhizomes that could lead to new plants, you will still have a heap of controlled waste to dispose of. Contaminated soil and plant materials must all be removed properly, while any remaining material must be treated with appropriate herbicides. This is why it is better to have professional plant specialists remove your knotweed, rather than trying to do it yourself.

However, if you are set on handling your knotweed alone, glyphosate-based herbicides are the best way to treat them. You will need to apply these herbicides at the right time of year and in the right manner. Again, this may take many years to have an effect, sometimes up to 7 years of consistent treatment are needed to control Japanese knotweed.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are available at most gardening centres, so they are easy to find. You should also follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure you use them correctly. With enough persistence, you should be able to control the knotweed.

However, if you ask for professional help, these experts will have more powerful herbicides that will deal with the issue more effectively. Only qualified individuals can use these chemicals and they must have National Proficiency Test Council certificates to prove they can do this. You might want to ask your local authority if they can recommend any professionals or companies which can help.

Regarding herbicide treatments, applying the glyphosate chemicals in later summer or early autumn once the knotweed has flowered is the best way to go. Applying it any earlier in the year will only stop the plant from growing, rather than killing it completely.

You will need to treat large, healthy strands of knotweed over many years to completely destroy them. Also, it's important to remember that if you want to spray herbicides in areas near water, that are on a protected site or near a water abstraction point, you will need written approval from the NRW.

The legal position on Japanese Knotweed

The legal position on Japanese Knotweed

If you have serious legal concerns regarding Japanese knotweed on your or your neighbour's property, it's always best to seek professional legal advice. Again, it is not illegal to have knotweed on your property, but it is an offence to let it spread. You also do not need to officially report any Japanese knotweed growing on your land.

However, if the knotweed on your property causes a nuisance, you can face prosecution. You must dispose of any waste material from the Japanese knotweed only on a permitted waste site. This is stated under the Environment Protection Act 1990.

Any plant material that contains herbicides may also be considered hazardous waste under UK regulations. Therefore, after spraying, any plant material must also be treated as controlled waste. If you hire someone to remove this waste, you must be able to prove they are a registered waste carrier.


Do you have a Japanese knotweed  problem? If you require Japanese knotweed removal in Essex, London or throughout the UK, contact our expert today.